Boxing Blog

    Develop a Point and Call system for your HABITS

    Hi Team,

    Welcome to another week.  There is a bit happening at the gym right now with all of the following things either ‘in stream’ or about to kick off:

    – Strong Women Strength Fundamental sessions

    – Dad Bod Blaster weekly program for men (Starting in June)

    – Fully Loaded Lifting only class each Sunday

    – 28-Days-Later Revisited (Coming in July)

    – Second Harvest ‘Flanno Dress-up Fundraiser’ (Saturday June 4th)

    On top of all of that, we have just added another 34x barbells to the boxing gym (yep – 34!!!) to enable us to start really pumping out the barbell circuits in our boxing and body weight sessions.  There really is NO excuse for not having a suitable barbell on barbell days now…the weights of the fixed bar range from 10kgs to 30kgs (with stop offs at every 2.5kgs in between) so get in early and get your bar sorted…as long as there is always 1x 10kg bar at each of the 4x Beginners cells I am happy for them to be moved around the place!

    AND.  All of the rubber flooring to finish up the floor in the boxing gym has been purchased…all we need to do now is lay it.  (LOL – laying it is actually a pretty big job!).  I really wish this was all ‘done’ and we could wiggle our noses and somehow get the matts from the floor of a warehouse in Malaga onto the floor of the boxing gym…unfortunately there is going to be a fair bit of blood, sweat and tears involved in the process…

    Anyway, it certainly is an exciting time to be at Round 1!

    A few months back I published a post about re-reading James Clear’s book ‘Atomic Habits’ that I called “Atomic Habits – What did I miss?”  The point of that blog was that you don’t always ‘get it’ the first time you do something – sometimes you need to persist if you are looking to find the way things apply to YOU…anyway, the point of mentioning this is I have a challenge for everyone today based on the ‘POINTING AND CALLING’ process Clear talks about in his book – a process he has taken from the Japanese railway system.  

    The background goes a little like this.  Everyone knows the Japanese rail system is one of the best in the world in terms of reliability/performance.  One of the ways they do this is by making ‘unconscious actions’ CONSCIOUS – and they do this by ‘pointing and calling’.  For example, when the driver sees a signal he will point at it and say “The signal is GREEN”.  When he pulls into a station, he will point at the speedometer and announce the speed of the train “Speed is 8kmph”.  Before a train departs, the conductor will point at each carriage in their section and say ‘ALL CLEAR’.  I think you get the idea. 

    In his book (page 63), Clear notes that “Pointing and Calling is a safety system that seems silly but works incredibly well.  Pointing and calling reduces errors by up to 85 percent and cuts accidents by 30 percent. The MTA subway system in New York City adopted a modified version that is “point-only,” and “within two years of implementation, incidents of incorrectly berthed subways fell 57 percent.”

    They are doing this to turn regular, repeatable actions that COULD become ‘automated’ to conscious ones that have been ‘confirmed’.  I regularly laugh with people in the gym that I forget to grab a cleaning rag ‘EVERY DAY’ and have to wander back into the office to find one.  I know I need one to do a class – they are (literally) right next to my desk.  I do a class pretty much EVERY day.  So…it should be obvious right.  But it isn’t ‘obvious’ because it is something I do ‘subconsciously’.  Now – in this case, it isn’t really a “problem” – but what if every time I sat down on the couch after dinner I was doing it with a block of chocolate in my hand?  Is that a ‘problem’? The answer (of course) is “it depends”…

    There is 100% nothing wrong with eating a bit of chocolate after dinner.  You guys should do ‘you’ and if that’s part of your night-time ritual then have at it.  But if you are trying to cut down on your calories and lose a couple of kilos it probably doesn’t help.  But if it is something that you do ‘every’ day, then it might be something you don’t necessarily even notice/realise that you are doing.

    In the book, Clear advocates writing down a list of ‘EVERY’ habit you follow in your life – everything from ‘get out of bed’ to ‘go to bed’.  He suggests that you write down EVERY habit and rate them as either effective (make a green smoothie in the morning), neutral (hang your towel up on the rack after your shower) or ineffective (check your phone/social media) – and from there just ‘observe and report’ without either praise or criticism.  

    This is how Clear explains it:
    “If you eat a chocolate bar every morning, acknowledge it, almost as if you were watching someone else. Oh, how interesting that they would do such a thing. If you binge-eat, simply notice that you are eating more calories than you should. If you waste time online, notice that you are spending your life in a way that you do not want to.”

    As he notes, the first step to eliminating bad (ineffective!) habits is to be on the lookout for them – and if you need ‘extra’ help, try out the pointing and calling method.  Say out loud the action you are thinking of taking and what the outcome will be.  For example, if you are working from home and find yourself make regular visits to the fridge remind yourself that “I’m not hungry – I’m just bored/avoiding work – I don’t need these calories”.  If you are in the habit of pushing the snooze button in the morning channel your inner Ted Lasso and say “There are two buttons I NEVER press – PANIC and Snooze – I promised to go to the gym this morning”.  There are two million examples I could give (and even more you could think of)…

    SO – here’s the ‘Point and Call’ challenge for the week.  Pick ONE habit you either want to eliminate OR one you are keen to double down on – and develop a point-and-call routine for it.  For example, if it is the ‘After dinner chocolate’ during the week, it might be something like “I am about to eat some delicious calories that I DO NOT need” as you get the chocolate out of the fridge.  Or whatever ‘language’ works for you.  And pick ONE positive habit you would like to reinforce and develop an equivalent point and call routine:  “I am about to do my morning stretches – these release my back and make me feel better for the WHOLE DAY”.  

    That’s it.  That’s the challenge – one week of point-and-call for two of your habits – an ineffective one you would like to ‘lose’ and an effective one you would like to re-inforce…give it a go and let me know how it goes!

    See you in the gym,



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