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April news - build better habits and have some FUN!

Using military strategy to build better habits Some of you may know that John is an ex SAS Marine and served in the South African Marine corps for 2 years in his youth. Our news letter today is based on Sun Tzu who was a legendary military strategist in ancient China and is the author of the famous book, The Arts of War. He was a master of “soft power” and the father of “agile warfare.” Whenever possible, he preferred to win without fighting or, at the very least, to win the easiest battles first. Sun Tzu's teaching extends well beyond the field of battle and is rather focused on finding the easiest way to achieve a specific goal. His approaches can be applied to everything from business growth and goal setting to weight loss and habit formation.Too often, we try to build new habits, achieve big goals, and “win at life” through sheer force. Sometimes we tend to try fight our battles directly and attack the enemy — in this case, our bad habits — at the point where they are strongest. For example:

  • We try to follow a strict diet while we are out to dinner with friends.

  • We try to write a book in a noisy environment.

  • We try to eat healthy in a house filled with sweets and sugar.

  • We try to do our homework with the television on.

  • We try to concentrate while using a smartphone filled with social media apps, games, and other distractions.

Anyone nodding their heads at this point? Yep we sure are!

And when we fall off course and fail to achieve our goals, we blame ourselves for “not wanting it badly enough” or not being focused or not having enough willpower. In many cases, however, failure is not a result of poor willpower, but a result of poor strategy.

Good military leaders start by winning easy battles and improving their position. They wait until the opposition is weakened and morale is low before they take on their foe directly. Why start a war by fighting battles in areas that are well-defended? Why start new habits in an environment that makes progress difficult?

Sun Tzu would never lead his army into a battle where the terrain was not to his advantage. He would not begin by attacking the point where the enemy is strongest. Similarly, we should make easy improvements to our habits first, build our strength, and establish a better position from which to attack the most difficult changes.

Fight Battles You Are Destined to Win!

Becoming better is not simply a matter of willpower or work ethic. It’s also a matter of strategy. What people assume is a lack of willpower or an unwillingness to change is often simply a consequence of trying to build good habits in bad environments.

  • If you are trying to read more books, don’t do it in a room filled with video games, Netflix, and a television. Move to a less distracting environment.

  • If you’re very overweight, don’t try to follow a workout program for college athletes. You can get there eventually, but that’s not a battle you need to fight right now. Start with a manageable change.

  • If you’re surrounded by people who tear down your goals, then work on your projects in a different location or reach out to like-minded people.

  • If you’re trying to stick to a writing habit when your kids are home from school and your house is in chaos, then work on it at a different time. Switch to a time of less resistance.

Build your habits where it is easy to do so. Re-define the situation. Create a game where the odds are stacked in your favor.

It sounds simple, but how often do you find yourself fighting difficult battles and ignoring easy ones? There is plenty of time to fight the difficult battles. Win the easy battles first. Do the things that lead to easy gains fist before looking at the areas where there are harder gains.

And about adventure! for all you couples out there... Our next adventure is kayaking from Puhoi Valley to Wenderholm Regional Park where we will end with a BBQ picnic

We paddle downriver (on an outgoing tide to make it even more enjoyable) through native bush, farmland and down into the mangrove forest. Along the way herons, pukekos, kingfishers and other water-minded birds flit in and out of the trees.

We will then meander on down the wide estuary to the Wenderholm Regional Park with it’s stunning Pohutukawa fringed beaches, ending our adventure with a delicious picnic BBQ to fill our hungry tummy's, at the Regional Park. Along with something to quench the thirst too, of course :)

You can find more information about our adventures in our meetup group Well, that's it for us for now. We do hope you have found info helpful and do hope to see some of you joining us for a few cool adventures. Onwards and Upwards! Kim & John

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