High Performance Daily Habits

High performance comes from many smalls actions on the daily - Habits. How do you approach it?

Daily habits

Small consistent actions towards a goal are the only way towards a life of high performance. By high performance I do not mean professional athlete. I mean, any person who is on a journey to discover and become the best version of them self. A sport, business, lifestyle, health or insert anything that you hold dear.

I would like to share a little more about myself and what things I hold dear. Not one of them is the normal definition of 'elite or professional'.

I break my life into a few categories. They are linked very strongly and never truly separate, however, there are clear sections that require different attention.

  • Family
  • Business
  • Education
  • Longevity
  • Passion
Graph

My time commitment and balance towards each is certainly not equal. Mentally in the last 2 years, I have found a great place. My inner balance is so stable. I have so much mental clarity and confidence in my inner workings that I feel whole. It has taken much work to find this space and I was worried it was a fleeting state, however, It has been with me for a good 2 years with only minimal downs. This is not to say that my life, from an event stand-point has been like this. Life events for the last 2 years have cycled through some really tough times. Life has been well lived and lots of change has happened in that time.

Unlike the image above, my life is not equal and I don't plan on it ever reaching that point. I don't think it would bring more balance into my world.

The main purpose of this article is to share how I have transformed high performance thinking and knowledge into fairly easy and practical steps towards 'actually' living a high performance life. To feel a deep contentedness. To live life with more passion. To be more productive but not feel overwhelmed with work. To connect with your family deeper. To continue learning with enjoyment. To me this is high performance - Extracting more out of life, giving more to the world and society and enjoying the little things all the way through.

Here are my current small and powerful daily habits

  1. More consistent sleep patterns
  2. Less spread out time on my phone
  3. More water and real food
  4. Fasting
  5. Physically active with purpose
  6. More honesty and clarity with my connections
  7. Research and study
  8. Mindset

Let's break the 8 points down a little bit.

More consistent sleep
The more I study sleep (and purely feel the impacts of good consistent sleep) the more I see it as the foundation to a 'good and great' everything. Decision making, health and well-being, longevity and simply enjoying the day more. I know I need at least 7 hours and no more than 8.5. I know I function better when I get to bed early and wake up early. I sleep better when I'm hydrated (even though I need to pee), I also sleep better when I have eaten. I'm still battling to find the right pillow and my 15month old does like to test our sleep quality from time to time. All in all, I'm improving every week and I can feel the change in my life significantly.

Less spread out time on the phone
Across the day I am using my phone a fair bit with work. I have migrated a lot of my 'phone time' to the computer, however, I don't love sitting all day. The phone usage most dangerous to me was the mindless scrolling. Plus, the speed I would pick the phone up when it went 'ping'. My approach is a little different to the recommendations, though, it has liberated me.
Most experts suggest you don't pick up your phone in the morning. Get your productive self up and about and seize the day. I have gone the other way. I read everything that has 'pinged' over night. Emails, notifications and check some of my trading. It varies a little day to day. Then, I leave the phone and go play with Grace. Drink coffee, stretch and do some mobility work. Add in my version of meditation (will expand another time) and chill. This was a good 2 hour chunk of time this morning. Since checking my phone at 5:45am I haven't looked at it more than twice (yet to use) and it is 10:15am. Mentally, it has lost it's hold with me.

More water and real food
The title says it all. I drink more water, more often. I eat more real food too. Why? I feel so much better throughout the entire day. I generally fast every day until 1-2pm. That is normally a 15-18hr fast. I have black coffee in the morning, around 2 big cups. Before the coffee, I would have 3-4 glasses of water. Then every hour, 1-2 glasses of water. Real food is simple. I or Emma prepares real food (Emma mainly and as a brilliant cook, I am very lucky!). No microwave (we haven't owned one since leaving home and minimal (not zero) packet food. My cheat foods are chips and biscuits from time to time. Getting more deliberate with my water and food have brought more consistency to my energy levels. I very rarely feel like I have low energy.

Food

Fasting
Now, fasting is one area of research and study I have spent 100's of hours on. Books, podcasts and research. I'm no expert on the topic but I am passionate about learning. There appears to be some very strong evidence linking longevity with fasting. Do I feel a million times better when I fast - no. Do I enjoy removing food for 36 - 48 - 72 hours? Not so much. I believe in the science behind it, and I am I willing to invest time and energy into the process. If science uncovers that it is harmful, or a zero sum game, I think I would continue to the morning fast (I think better when I don't eat in the morning) but I would discontinue with anything longer than 20hours. Science is very bullish on the benefits so I believe I will continue with my expanding fasting habits.

Physically active with purpose
A recent study of 50,000 people (Study here)showed that the minimum effective dose of exercise was between 5-10mins per day. 1 hour per week in total. Not a lot hey! Other recommendations have hovered around 20-30mins per day. Either way, it's not a lot to maintain health markers with very minimal input. My habits and fairly good here, however, I have found they work more consistently if I have a physical goal linked. Mine is to run a marathon at a PB time. Simple goal but it has me out of the door 4 times per week with walks every day on top.

More honesty and clarity with my connections
This is an odd one but something that I struggled with for many years. I wasn't a YES man, but I would often go with the flow or be lead by others with certain decisions or conversations because I wasn't 100% sure. I would say yes or ok even if it wasn't something I wanted to be involved in 100%. After a lot of inner work, it became clear that this would not help anyone. Them, nor me. I make a very clear effort to commit to projects I am capable and excited to do. Communicate with more clarity what each project entail and in home life, discuss things when they come up. I don't hold on to anything for longer than some thinking time. In the past I would think on things for days, sometimes weeks. It would consume me and be ever present. Now, I think a little bit, but my action phase is much, much quicker. Plus, I have added a strong feedback loop after any decision making process. This has reduced my fear in making 'wrong' choices and also has refined my decision making. I make better decisions more often, and learn from both good and bad.

Research and study
I love reading, watching and listening to people share their knowledge. The topics I love are all different but the learning process is something I truly enjoy. So, I make time (no matter how 'busy) I am, to learn. I share my insights more with Emma and we discuss it. We test the information and we keep each other honest with what we think and what the research actually shows. It's humbling and awesome. Do more of what you love and your day will be much more meaningful.

Mindset
Mindset is listed 8th, not because it is least important, quite the opposite. It is 8th because I think it is the underlying element to everything else. A dramatic shift in mindset is at the core of contentedness. I deliberately didn't write happiness. Happiness can be fleeting, contentedness is more enduring. In my mind anyway. I am a very content person. Most of my life, I have had moments of happiness but large moments of depression and despair too. I would have days where I couldn't function, couldn't see people or engage with myself. Getting out of the house could be impossible. I would mentally abuse myself and the cycle would only dig in deeper. The next morning I could be on top of the world, with a new goal and dream that I would attack with conviction. One Dr believed I was on the bi-polar spectrum. Perhaps.
I believed and still do, that I could shape my world and how I interact with it. It took me a long time and many downs along the way. I needed to have some very open conversations with myself. They are not easy because, well, you're there! Taking the emotion out from your decisions, removing the blame is hard. It is possible though and once I was able to get through to myself, daily, I started to see lasting change. My downs were far fewer, my ups more stable and outlook more patient. My mindset is still a working progress and I still have moments where I feel low, however these are fleeting and very manageable. The way I see the world shapes every action I take. Small daily steps towards high performance habits. Forget the destination, it doesn't exist. It is the journey and the moments we create that make life truly special.

Mindset

I hope my approach to habits, my thinking and what elements I focus on can in some way help you approach your own daily thinking and actions. If you are a parent with a child who plays tennis, this may help you approach your process.

Thinking the right way is not enough, we must act on those thoughts. It starts with thinking better but we must act. With action, we can create change. I am not here to preach just share a little of my journey with how I approach the little, yet, powerful things in my daily life. In tennis and life, the foundation stems from the same well.

Brett