01 May Hitman’s Quarterly Insights 2020, Part One: CTP Reset & Social Isolation
The Art of the CTP Reset
I started my year as how I spent most of 2019, by boarding a flight.
Unbeknownst to me was that this would be my last long haul flight for a long period of time. I had plans of continuing life as a NOMAD through to Barcelona and onto Cancun all the way till the end of April, but things changed, and not just with Covid-19. I realised over Christmas that I needed certain boxes ticked both physically and mentally in order to perform well in all areas of my life.
During 2019 I tried to find my 3Ss – structure, strategy and systems continuously, but with a new week meaning a new city, time zone and environment, it wasn’t easy to say the least. I continue to let each new place dictate my 3Ss, and so I felt overwhelmed at all times. I needed to take a stand and create something transferrable to all environments. I needed rules to ensure my external circumstances didn’t control my internal environment.
The first step was to nail my precursors and define how I was going to execute my daily routine and my transformation checklist (training, nutrition, sleep, steps, water). So when I landed in Australia, I wrote these all down and decided that no matter what, I’d stick to these. Even if the lure of the new environment created temptation for deviation. I wanted my 3Ss in place.
After successfully nailing this for a month, I’d achieved my first CTP (Cleaning the Palate) reset. However, it was time to move again to Barcelona, with the original plan being to stay for two months. Everything was up in the air again, and if you want to know the definition of decision fatigue, go for weekly food shop where none of the labels are in English, and Google translator brings up different words.
I had to CTP reset again, find new precursors, align my 3Ss in place, and continue again. I was starting to find the rules that served me in all environments. It’s similar to when you start a new transformation journey. It starts off as overwhelming and everything takes you 10x as long, but once you find your rhythm, you become efficient. With intentions to nail my 3Ss, I was in a good place. I didn’t expect to train, eat or sleep as well in my first week in Barcelona vs my last week in Australia, but I knew if I stuck with my rules, it’d soon catch up. Within 7-10 days, I was running on autopilot.
Then Covid-19 happened, and I had to cut my stay short and go back home to the UK. It was time for my 3rd CTP reset in three months, but on this occasion, I was up and running at my best in 5 days.
With the pandemic forcing everyone indoors with new routines, environments and ways of living, we’ve all had to execute some form of CTP reset. Each time something new happens in your life, you need a reset to realign your 3Ss. Here’s what I’ve learnt as the key to a good CTP reset:
– Find the precursors to your 3Ss – meaning, what triggers can you identify that positively impact your structure, strategy and systems for the day.
– Expect to be less efficient and optimal initially, with a focus more on being practical and ‘getting it done.
– You will get some level of it wrong once; make the adjustment and adapt – there’s never a right or wrong way to go on the journey.
– Be consciously competent. During a CTP reset, there’s no guesswork, no eye balling and no speculating – you have to be conscious of all of your actions and go back to ticking the basic boxes every day.
During my 2019 NOMAD experience, I had long extended periods of time which mirrored my current lockdown routine of limited face to face social interaction. I’d experienced both the positives and the negatives, so I thought I’d share a story.
In an effort to enjoy my travels in South America while balancing a high workload, I had to take a huge dip in any face to face human interaction in order to stay on top of my work as a coach.
The regulations of lockdown we now live in brought back some memories. I remember being in South America and feeling isolated, disconnected and unfulfilled. Despite being in amazing cities I couldn’t enjoy it because I lacked a basic human need – connection.
For many of you who may be reading this might be the first time you’ve been in isolation in your lives, and with us being almost 6 weeks in, you may be feeling similar. That’s OK.
The way I dealt with it then, and what I’ve carried over into lockdown now (which has helped avoid any of those symptoms to the same extent) is apply 100% singular focus each day to one thing for myself. Let me explain.
What I try to do at least once a day is to activate a ‘flow state’ whereby I’m 100% dialled into one thing, and that one thing gets my full attention. It could be a good book, playing with your children, journaling, even a games console. For me, and for many others I know on this journey, it’s training.
In times like this, I increase the value on my training to another level. It’s my time to give back to myself, zone in, and block everything out except for the movement. It’s my time to adopt ‘training hygiene’, whereby I do the following:
– Feel every inch of every movement
– Connect my mind to the muscle being worked
– Respect the tempo of the lift
– Adhere to my rest periods
– Strive for progression
This is my time where everything stops. You could have a million things going on, but this time in the day is where you’re in control and in the zone. No matter how busy we may get with lockdown (especially those with young children), even 10 minutes of this sacred time can make all the difference.
Outside of this, I have some great tips to share on how to stay connected and feel less isolated as the world goes digital:
– Don’t multi task. Talking and walking might be good use of time however the level of connection with the person suffers with distractions and fleeting concentration.
– If you’re video calling, look at the other person rather than yourself or other distractions on separate windows. You may laugh, but everyone does this a lot more than you think – on Zoom you can take away self-viewing mode to help this.
– Arrange the call over a dinner, set a theme and bring nostalgia. For example, my girlfriend and my girlfriend recently did a call wearing our Barcelona FC football shirts and talked about the time away as a ‘theme’ of the call. Another example was with Akash, where we did a ‘steak night’ over Zoom – which brought together past times in steakhouses in London, Italy and the US.
– Ask the difficult questions. Instead of surface level chat, start with questions like ‘What’s your biggest challenge at the moment?’. Ask questions which allow you and the other person to open up and be expressive.
– If you’re working from home, the boundaries will be blurred if you’re not careful. Take the day as serious as you would if your boss was sitting next to you. Set rules, precursors and set yourself up for success in your routines. That means that same prework rituals, walks, coffee breaks, etc.
I hope the learnings that this climate can be used as positives. I’m personally seeing a tremendous positive shift and realignment in my value systems and priorities. If you choose to see the shifts, you’ll be able to experience similar. For now, stay safe and indoors, and let’s see this through together as a family.
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To explore all of the Hitman’s Quarterly Insights starting from 2019, scroll through the Coaches Corner here.
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