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The Routine Cycle

Episode #610

What are the 3 key components of routine?

What are the 4 E’s in taking action?

Align your routine with your goals and allow yourself to grow if you want to get what you deserve. It’s time to make changes that improve your progress.

In this episode, we’re sharing the importance of having a routine and what you can do to establish a routine so you can make your days more productive.

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Doug Holt: Hey, guys, welcome back to another episode. Tim, my brother, how are you doing? Dude, bro?

Tim Matthews: Doing very well, my brother, how are you? doing awesome

Doug Holt: Doing awesome.I’m really excited for wrapping up 2022 and going into 2023. When this episode goes out, we’ll be in the first week of January. So great things are coming our way. Unfortunately, for a lot of guys, this also is the week of divorce day. I know that’s not the topic of this podcast. So, gentlemen, for those of you that have already gotten the unfortunate news that the divorce has been filed, my heart’s with you guys. The rest of you guys, this is time to take action and take note. For those that don’t know, divorce day is a day that’s on a family law or divorce lawyers calendar – or solicitor, if you’re in the UK. And it is where most of the divorces are filed.

They are filed the first week of January, specifically the first Monday of January. And so because of this, this is the day that, you know, we take note of. The powerful man, unfortunately, this is we start getting a lot of phone calls from men who are trying to claw back in their marriage. And yes, a lot of men do. But you got to take action, you got to be expeditious about it, and taking action, and making sure you do so. So if that is you, my heart goes out to you. Please get on a call with one of our advisors over at thepowerfulman.com immediately. Stop this podcast, and just go right there, and get on that phone call as soon as possible. Because it’s time to change, and we want to change some habits. And that’s what we’re gonna talk about today. Tim.

Tim Matthews: Yeah, let’s do it. Great timing.

Doug Holt: So, we look at habits and routines, right? We know routines get us there. And in the States we say, in baseball, it’s all about hitting singles, you win by hitting singles. Everybody swings for the home run, that looks sexy and everything. But hitting singles wins games. And routines are those singles. The routines are the things that allow us to get there. And so, how do you establish a routine? What is the actual pattern of a routine? And how is it recognized? And that’s what we’re gonna talk about today, guys, along with – what are some ways that you can establish your routines for 2023, to make sure that you’re going to get where you want in 2024? Right.

So, the way I look at this is, Tim Matthews, Doug Holt, we’ll call it 2.0. And what do we have to get to Doug and Tim 3.0? Right, what’s there, where’s the gap? Now when you look at and identify the gap, which is a whole other conversation -but the basis of the gap are the routines. At The Powerful Man, we teach the Alpha Rise and Shine, the Alpha Decompression, and a whole host of other routines, even the Triad of Connection. So these are things you can get when you get inside the AM, which is our flagship program. So we look at routines. There’s three core components in the routine cycle. And this is published research that’s been around for a long time, when you look it up. And you really want to get to the science, right? This isn’t just my opinion here.

The first thing, the first part of it, which is probably not, unusual is the trigger, right? Something has to trigger the routine. Now these are good routines and bad routines. Right? So for some of you guys, it’s five o’clock, right? Five o’clock happens. the first beer, scotch. whisky. gets cracked. Why? Because it’s five o’clock, that becomes a routine. For some of you. It’s when you walk by your pantry refrigerator. That’s when you start snacking, right? You just unconsciously do it. That’s the trigger. For some of you, it’s when you come home and you see your wife. That’s your trigger, right?

So these routine cycles all start off with the trigger. Some examples, again, just to really drive this home – an alarm clock going off. What does that trigger for you? We’ve talked many times on this podcast about how you can use alarms on your phone to set triggers to allow you to go through the cycle to get what you want. But you can even have a traffic light turning green, you’re triggered to go. Turning red, you’re triggered to stop. But at the same time, if that light turns red, you could be triggered to tell yourself a story about how you’re always late, or whatever else it may be, all kinds of things alongside it. I can list 1000 triggers here that we see all the time. The important thing to know is that it always starts with a trigger, whether it’s a good routine, or a bad routine, right? And if you know this, you can start new routines, and you can also eliminate bad ones. Tim, anything you want to add to number one?

Tim Matthews: I do. that routine – we’ve mentioned in the past about clothes, I mean, triggers, right? It’s the end of the workday. if you are wanting to be able to get into the mindset of being the CFO, the chief fun officer, what are some ways you can do that? Well, you make sure you get changed, right? If you’re working from home, get changed out of your work clothes, get changed into your home clothes, or CFO clothes, wherever you want to call them. We’ve spoken as well about having something above your door. So, when you leave your office, you can tap it, right? It might say something like ‘It’s playtime’, right? And coming into the office, you could have the same thing: tap it, that may say ‘it’s game time’. Whatever it may be. But I think they’re very good reminders, because like I said, we have spoken about things like that. And those are two that I think the men have said have helped them the most.

Doug Holt: Yeah, those are great routines, I have those implemented in my life. I’ve talked about the one at the top of my door. I have two things. I have a custom metal sign that I hit, and that enters into decompression for me. So you’ve already jumped ahead, Tim, because you’re always smart. Once that trigger happens, then you have an action. Something happens, your alarm clock goes off, that’s the trigger, and then there’s an action. Now the action usually goes around one of the four E’s.

So, it’s environment, ease, efficiency, and effectiveness that we want to look at here. So what’s the trigger happening? I’ll use your alarm clock, right? What happens there in your environment, that makes it easier, effective, what’s going on in these areas that makes it efficient? So, maybe your alarm clock goes off, and you’re like me, and you grab your water that was sitting there that you put out the night before, so you can make sure that you’re hydrated when you wake up. Why are you hydrated? You’re hydrated because it’s going to make you feel better. You actually lose water while you sleep. So, hydration is really important right in the morning.

So, the alarm becomes a trigger for me, the action is to drink water, right? That is the key. Now, there is a third step. The third step, the reward. I drink the water, guess what? I feel better. I feel more hydrated, right? I feel more awake and more alive, because I feel as if my cells are waking up. So we have the trigger, then we have the action. And the third part is the reward. Now if you can realize that everything you do is a routine and fits within these three things, now we can start to make some changes. Now we can start to make some pivots. And we can also do this by looking at the good and the bad. And in a minute here, I’m going to give you guys some homework.

So, if you are listening to this in a place where you can write some things down, please do get out your journal and your pen. If you’re not, that’s fine, we’ll go over it, you always come back to this podcast coming through. So Tim, thoughts and pickups on trigger action reward?

Tim Matthews: Yeah, this is probably already happening in your life, and is probably already either working for you or against you. Doug going to take you through some of those examples in a moment. If not, we can always loop back around to that at the end of the podcast.

Doug Holt: I appreciate you’re flying blind here. Tim’s been working hard. ‘Doug, I have no idea what we’re gonna be talking about.’ You are always great at that, because you don’t ruin it for me. I appreciate it. So, here’s what I want you guys to do. So, I want you guys to go ahead and put a line down the middle of your journal, a blank page, right? You’re gonna do this on two pages. On the left column, I want you to write things that you want to stop, actions and triggers that you want to stop. On the right part of the page, things that you want to start.

And then the next page, we’re going to put ‘do less’ on one side, ‘do more’ on the other. And the third and final page – you don’t have to put a line in the middle – It’s just going to be ‘continue’. And what we want to do here is make a list of things that you want to stop doing now. I’ve fallen in the habit of, when work is done, I go upstairs, because I actually work downstairs, and I go up, and I see everybody, and we open a bottle of wine, and we have a drink.

One drink turns into two often, sometimes three. And this has become a routine over the past holiday season. Now, I get to decide: does this routine serve me? What’s the trigger? The trigger is walking upstairs, and I go into the kitchen, and I see friends and family who’ve been with us for a while, and there’s a bottle of wine. So I take the action, usually a glass is poured for me already. And then I get the reward. What’s the reward I get? Well, I get to be social, I get to feel that free feeling when you drink alcohol. And it tastes good, right?

So I get all these rewards and mechanisms here that established this routine. Now, we can get into the hierarchy of the seven characteristics later, that establish an actual addiction to something, a different version of addiction. But you look at this, and you say, okay, is that routine something I want to continue, do more of, do less of, stop, or start, right? It’s obviously not something I need to start since I’m doing it. So, I’m going to put this in the ‘do less of’ category for myself. Right? It’s not stopping, but just ‘do less of’ category. Tim, you look surprised. Where do you think I was putting it in? ‘Do more of?’

Tim Matthews: Yeah.

Doug Holt: Yeah, I’m gonna put this in the ‘do less category’. And now I get to look at this. And I want you guys to go down and look at all your routines that you’re doing currently. What about working out? Do you do more, or do less? You know, Tim’s talked about this before as well. But a lot of guys, they decide, okay, I’m gonna get in shape. And they go from zero to 60, and they get injured, and they hurt themselves. And they go right back to this whole cycle.

So, maybe some of you guys are backing off your workouts a notch. Some you guys are just gonna continue doing it. you’re doing your Alpha Rise and Shine, you’re getting after it. Kudos for you. Guys in the IC, which is our high-end mastermind group, these guys are playing at a very high level, they actually post their Alpha Rise and Shine every single day. It’s amazing to watch. What are they doing? They’re establishing a trigger, they’re doing an action, they the get the reward. The other guys are commenting on it. They’re also getting the benefits of all the things they’re doing.

So what they’ve done is, they put themselves in an environment, surrounded by all the other men within the movement in the IC, and the coaches, which is Tim, Arthur and I, and that environment alone is allowing them to establish a routine that gets them what they want. So, what I want you to do is start looking through what you’re currently doing, and also where you want to be. So if I said, again, Doug, and Tim 2.0, let’s call that who we are today, and then Doug and Tim 3.0, where we want to be.

Everybody has a journey where they want to get to. What do we want to start, stop, do less of, do more of, or continue? And you want to start writing those things down. What is it you want to do? Maybe you, like me, like to be around a lot of high-performing men, that aren’t in it to take something from you per se. They’re there to guide you, to help you, to mentor you. Then you want to be in a program like the Brotherhood or the IC. Now, you can’t just get into this program. You have to go through the AM to be invited. But that’s the first step is you have to get through the AM. So maybe for you, you want to start doing more personal development, or business development. Maybe you want to stop watching Netflix every night, and instead work on yourself. Maybe you want to stop hanging out with men and people that are energy vampires, that drag you down, that don’t allow you to grow. Maybe you want to have sex, have some more sex. That’s cool. Write that down.

And when you start putting these into routines – not that sex is a routine –  because I hope it isn’t for you, I hope it’s a regular thing you guys get. But now you can start establishing triggers, actions and rewards around having more sex, right? And that’s gonna involve, hopefully, your partner. And how are you going to do that? And where are you gonna go? So if you have a routine you want to do less of, having some wine after work. I want to do less of that. Okay, now what I get to do is establish a new trigger for going upstairs. And maybe that new trigger is, as soon as I go upstairs, I do another action, which is pour myself a cup of tea. And the reward I get for the cup of tea is that I’m actually going to lose body fat, less calories. I’m not going to be as inebriated, I’ll be clear-thinking. Another reward is that I can try new teas. I want to make this as easy as we can. We want to make this game-like and kid-like, and fun. What is it you want to do? What is the reward that you get? Maybe I say to myself, Doug, if four nights out of the week you do tea, three nights you get wine, what’s your reward? You get a massage at the end of the month, when you hit that.

Tim Matthews: More wine.

Doug Holt: Get more wine.

Tim Matthews: Or a beer. You can top that up with a glass of wine.

Doug Holt: There you go. Always good to mix. But you get the idea. What we want to do is take stock. For a lot of you guys, you’re having problems in your marriage or your business. What are the routines in your marriage? What are the routines in your business? What are the routines with your wife? Do you guys both get up in the morning, go grab a cup of coffee, she goes and sits on the couch and journals, you go into the kitchen and do something else, or check your phone immediately. But what are those routines, realistically?

Go through your day. Really think about it. Anything that you do repeatedly is going to be a routine. Then identify in these categories. Do I want to start something different, stop with routine is, do less, do more, continue? When you do, I want you now to identify the trigger of anything that’s there. What is the triggering effect? And then, what’s the action you take with the triggering effect? Right? What’s your reward? So again, a lot of men that come through the program, a coach might say, hey, look, I want you to set three alarms on your phone to remind you about the HM technique, to practice it.

Every time that alarm goes off, I want you to have a unique sound to that alarm, not your normal chime or whatever. And when you hear that, I want you to immediately find somebody and practice the HM with. Or do 20 push ups. Whatever it is. The trigger is the alarm, the action you’re going to take, and then what’s your reward? There’s intrinsic rewards, but what actually are you getting out of that? And that reward is going to reinforce the trigger. And if your reward reinforces your trigger, then it’s just about consistency. And once you start to get consistent, it happens right away. You get that action that you’re looking for. Super simple example.

You can do this for your kids as well. I do something really simple with my kids. And I’ve done it very purposely. I just whistle twice, and my kids come. It’s like a pet. People at first were like, why are you treating your kids like a dog? my wife used to say this all the time. But now, if I’m anywhere in the house, or anywhere outside, all I have to do is a certain whistle that I do, and my kids come, because they know that that’s the trigger. It’s like Pavlov’s dogs, right? We want to do that to ourselves. We want to trigger ourselves for these good behaviors. Maybe it’s nutrition that you’re looking for in 2023. You know, most guys, when they set their goals – and I’ve had the opportunity of looking at 1000s and 1000s of men’s goals over the years, and women’s, quite frankly – and what I see almost all the time, the majority of people, for their New Year’s resolution- First of all, people say ‘I never make them’. It’s bullshit. I think everybody makes them consciously or subconsciously.

It’s just a finite time of the year that makes sense. It’s wealth and health. Those almost always make the list. I want to make more money, or work less and make the same money, thus leveraging the amount of money I’m making per time, or I want to get in better shape. Now, that could be for you. Maybe you’re in great shape, and you want to be an Iron Man and walk around with 5% body fat, I don’t know. Or maybe it could be that you just want to drop two pounds. I don’t know. But I see one of those two things almost all the time. It’s very rare not to see it. I’m also going to ask you guys, 20 years from now, you’re sitting on your porch on a rocking chair, what’s the most important territory for you? Now the territories are self, health, wealth, relationships and business. Which of those is the most important to you, 20 years from now?

My guess is most of you guys are going to say relationships, and maybe health. So, what are you going to do more of to get you there? What are you gonna do less of to get you there? What are you going to start, what are you gonna stop? What are you gonna continue? Take some time to ponder this, guys. We’re doing a whole masterclass on this and other aspects of this, planning to get much more advanced for the men that are in the Brotherhood. They’re going to be going through this in very, very rich detail. But this exercise can literally change your life. Tim, what’s coming up for you?

Tim Matthews: When I wrote down trigger-action-reward, it reminded me of a time in Italy, where I got into the habit of having an ice cold beer. Oh my God, even the thought of it just makes me feel so good. I’d found myself getting into this habit. When we’re living in Rome, we’d go out for dinner each night. And I’d always get a cold beer. But it was so good, because they brought the glass out of the freezer, so you can imagine how cold that was. It was icy and frosty, and the beer was called as well. It was like five minutes down the road from the place we were staying in. So literally, it might be 7pm, close my laptop, we go for dinner. Within 10 minutes, I’m sat there with this beer. And God, the trigger was closing my laptop. The action was the beer. And the reward was the immense sense of refreshment and accomplishment that I got from that beer. And it wasn’t until maybe a few weeks in when we realize we’ve been doing this pretty much most days.

Because even when I wasn’t working, I still wanted that taste, right? The trigger was just the thought of the beer. Maybe it was just seeing somebody drinking one, whatever. Didn’t matter. By that point it was hardwired, and even the sight of somebody drinking- I’m fucking foaming at the mouth right now. So anyway, when I became aware of it, it wasn’t a pattern or a routine that I wanted to do more of, that’s for sure. Definitely wanted to do less of it. So, for me, I started with the end in mind. Okay, what is the reward I’m getting from this beer?

Well, it’s helping me feel refreshed. It’s helping me to relax, unwind. So I started to look, okay, well, how else can I give myself that same reward, or a similar one. And by no means was it as nice, but I came up with the idea of having a cold shower. Which worked. After I finished work, close my laptop, got a cold shower, definitely felt a lot more refreshed. Got to the restaurant maybe 10-15 minutes later than we usually would, but my desire for that ice cold beer was a lot less, and I didn’t have it as often. Now, was it as enjoyable as an ice-cold beer? I’m not gonna lie.. No. But it just reached a point where my routine wasn’t serving me, it wasn’t something that I wanted to have happen for the next year, two years, five years, 10 years, and so on. So, I made the decision to change it. And I’ve done that with other things. Okay, what am I getting from this, And how can I get that reward a little bit differently?

Doug Holt: That’s an important thing to talk about, what you did there. You changed your environment, right? You went to the cold shower, not to the restaurant right away, you made it easy for yourself in that action. Right? It was also very efficient, coming into it. So, those all had aspects of it. And the fourth E, it was effective, it worked. When we look at the four E’s, you applied all the four E’s to this one action that allows you to get a different reward. And the reward for you was probably a little more self-discipline, but also, you probably also felt healthier, felt better about yourself.

Now, the cold beer is the easy answer, right? I mean, right now, I can tell you want to go downstairs in your house and have a beer? And maybe you should. Put that in the continue category. Right? But you get to see whether these things serve you. Maybe it’s just for a season, right? Maybe it’s a season. We’re going to Cuba, guys. So we have 50 men descending upon Cuba. They’re all involved in The Powerful Man movement. And a lot of those guys – I’ll give you a hint – for those guys that aren’t involved in this conversation, the boys in the IC, they’re hitting it hard, and they’re getting ready for Cuba. Right? That’s a reward. Right? They’re setting themselves up.

So they’re going to do more of or just continue what they’re doing. They’ve also, in order to get this trigger – we talked about the Voxer chat these guys got going on, it’s their environment. They’re surrounded by other high-performing men. Iron sharpens iron. And they’re posting it. It’s easy, it’s efficient, because they’re getting instant feedback from the other men. And guys are calling each other out, playfully. A little rise here and there is good for you. But go back through that list, and then start working on your trigger-action-reward. For boys in the Brotherhood in the IC, we’re gonna be doing a deep dive on this in one of the master classes, but you get a head start and do it now.

Tim Matthews: Yeah, the masterclass is going to be great. I’m looking forward to that. And the guys will get a lot out of it.

Doug Holt: And for the listeners, I always feel bad because people ask questions. We do four masterclasses every month. So, we do a whole masterclass for four weeks, take a week off and do another one, bring in a guest expert that week off. This is all for the men that are in the program, the Brotherhood, the IC, and one-on-one coaching that we offer through The Powerful Man. So, we’re gonna go through this in detail. And again, guys, this is something you could just listen to and go about your day, or is it something you can actually use, action, and change the triggers in your life, and get the results you actually want?

Tim Matthews: You and I got recommended to read a book called Streaking. Unfortunately, it wasn’t kind of streaking I thought it was gonna be, and instead it’s around habits.

Doug Holt: I haven’t read it yet.

Tim Matthews: Yeah, it’s good. I’m about halfway through. And it talks about, well, how do you set up the streak? And man, it talks about these crazy examples. This one guy was 85, and he has got a 47-year streak. And he’s got a 47-year streak of running or walking at least one mile a day. And obviously you know what happens when you do the first mile.

Typically, you’re going to go for a little bit longer, a little bit longer. But more importantly, what happens for your self-esteem, by making and keeping promises to yourself, even on the days where you really don’t want to do it, it creates a level of confidence and certainty that is hard to compete with. And it talks about a lot. But the guys, the people at the top that perform at an elite level, one of the key things that hasn’t been at that level is consistency. Being consistent over the long term, right? And part of the way I’ve set up a streak is, the first thing, you’ve got to know what you want to streak. So what are you going to choose? And obviously, it’s got to be something that is related to an outcome that’s meaningful for you.

So what is it going to be? And then really, it’s about making it very easy to do the streak. So let’s say you want to run a marathon, right? If you set a streak of running or walking one mile a day, something that’s pretty easy to do, right, you’re more likely gonna do it. Whereas if you say you’re going to run 5k a day, and you’ve not really been running. That’s hard. It’s gonna take a toll on your body, probably gonna get injured, it’s much harder to do on the days when you really don’t feel like doing it. So, the minimum viable product, if you will, the minimum base is 5k, that’s a lot versus a mile.

So, first thing is knowing what the goal is, know what the streak is, and setting the frequency of the streak. Is it daily? Is it weekly? Is it monthly? Whatever it is. And then just having something- creating community around yourself to be able to make the streak easy, and share, and celebrate and all that stuff. And then having something visible, where you can track your streak and see your streak that’s building pace, quite frankly. When I think about that and think about what you’re sharing here, and the guys in the IC and the Voxer chat and everything else, a lot of the most successful men that we work with do a lot of these things already. They’re doing them unconsciously, which is great. So I think, when we bring a level of awareness and conscious intention to this to the masterclass, I can only begin to imagine where they’ll be.

Doug Holt: Absolutely. It reminds me of a couple streaks that we have going on. I’ll talk to you about that offline, though, Tim. I feel a little friendly competition is about to occur. But gentlemen, you know, the key here is really doing the work, right? We always talk about that, and get into the three cycles: trigger-action-reward. Right? And where are you going? right after this, I’m going to stop by, and Tim and I are going to have a discussion around this topic. Who do you have by yourself? Do you have your own brotherhood or IC? If not, I highly recommend getting one. Be it through The Powerful Man movement or somewhere else. iron sharpens iron, guys. And this is how you get people to break these habits, these goals, these new year resolutions that you’ve had for years, about learning the foreign language or whatever else it may be. This is the mechanism to actually make that happen. Gentlemen, as we always say in the moment of insight, take massive action. We’ll see you next time.