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Dream Setting

Dream Set Your Way to the Best Year of Your Life!

Dream Set Your Way to the Best Year of Your Life!

The Ripple Effect Program Home Page

KEY POINTS:

1. Dreams are our deepest and most dearly held hopes and aspirations. They have the power to inspire and consume us, capture our imagination, and create powerful change.

2. Dreams are more powerful than goals to fuel passion, and drive action and growth.

3. By dreaming BIG, then making small, consistent improvements, you can revolutionize your health and your life.

“If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started with a dream and a mouse.” - Walt Disney

Having worked with so many driven, high-achieving people during my career, I know one thing: promises and goals lack the power to change your life. We have to go bigger.

We have to dream.

Dreams inspire us and consume us. Dreams express our deepest hopes. Dreams capture our imagination. Dreams create powerful change.

Consider this story:

In 2010 and 2012 I attended the Olympic Games as a sport science analyst. I had some incredible experiences and saw some amazing performances. One in particular is etched in my memory. Early one morning during the 2010 Winter Olympics Slovenian cross-country skier Petra Majdic was warming up. Petra was one of the gold medal favourites in her event. But that morning everything went wrong. When she was coming around a corner she slipped and fell off an embankment. This seemingly minor accident was anything but. She had fallen in such a way that she broke her ribs. Her Olympic dream was at risk.

Despite this injury she went on to compete. Each time that she took a breath her broken ribs were scraping over each other. Every time she poled to drive herself forward the vibration forces would have transferred through her arms and torso. Her latissimus dorsi muscles would have been pulling on her rib cage. The pain must have been torturous. But she persevered anyway. She competed in her first heat, and then her second heat, qualifying for the semi-finals. In the semi-final she was fast enough to make it through to the final. Somewhere along the way one of the broken ribs punctured her lung and she suffered a pneumothorax, which is a technical term for a collapsing lung. Still she kept going. In the final she skied her way to a bronze medal.

There’s an iconic picture of her receiving her medal. Two medical personnel flank her on the podium. She refused to go to the hospital until she had been awarded that bronze medal.

After she had been stabilized in the hospital the media were finally allowed to interview her. One question and answer struck me as being life-changing in its importance. The interviewer asked Petra “How could you keep skiing through the heats, semi-final, and final despite all that pain?” Petra’s answer was fascinating. She answered “The pain that I went through today to win that bronze medal was nothing compared to the pain that I have gone through training for 20 years to achieve my dream.”

She didn’t say “achieve my goals”, “reach my objective”, or even “to win a medal”. She spoke of dreams. Which is very powerful. You see – dreams are more powerful than goals, despite goal setting being the traditional method for building motivation in humans. I realized at that moment that athletes, at least the great ones, use their dreams (which are more powerful than just goals) to fuel their passions and to drive action and growth.

The difference between goals and dreams is subtle but powerful. Petra Majdic used a skill she had developed as an athlete to overcome incredible obstacles and deliver a medal-winning performance that inspired the world. She thought about her dream when she was faced with a decision of whether or not to compete. She relied on the big picture – the vision that she had created when she was a child that she wanted to achieve. Her dream was to win the Olympics. That dream allowed her to compartmentalize the pain of her injury and focus on the performance that ultimately enabled her to complete the competition – successfully.

The same principles apply to almost everything in our lives. By making slight adjustments in the way that we act, think, and feel we can move from average to iconic – just like Petra Majdic did. We can learn from people that have pushed the limits of human performance, health and achievement.

Dreams are powerful. They inspire us to new heights. Dreams are our deepest and most dearly held hopes and aspirations. Dreams capture our imagination. Dreams create extraordinary motivation and transformative change. They enable us to live differently.

When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood beneath the Lincoln Memorial at the pinnacle of the Civil Rights movement and inspired his listeners to action, he repeated a single phrase over and over again: “I have a dream.” He didn’t say “I have a goal” or “I have an objective”. His Dream changed the United States and the world.

By dreaming BIG, then making small, consistent improvements can revolutionize your health and your life.

If you really want to achieve something, you can dream yourself into doing it. Dream Setting is powerful. And it is the most effective way to change your life for the better.

The difficulty for most of us is that thinking of our personal and professional goals as dreams seems somehow hokey or silly. It’s not. Dreams are a powerful and effective way to motivate you to achieve more. And while some dreams are huge – like inventing a new technology or starting an organization from scratch – dreams can be as small as you want: running a 10 km race, sleeping more deeply, being more effective in your job, improving your body, overcoming an illness, or learning how to play an amazing piece of music.

The key to living a world-class life and getting the most out of this time that we have is to make sure that we have dreams. We need something that powers us to do more. You need dreams that can drive you to be better. Dreams give you a flame in your heart that ignites passion. If you think about what athletes look like when they win – exhilarated, thrilled, excited, energized – you will have an image of what the fulfillment of a dream can do for us all. It gives us a chance to live life at a different level.

The critical defining feature of dreams is that they are about passion. If you really want to achieve something, you can dream yourself into doing it.

Okay team - it's time to set some dreams! Research shows that if you write down what you want to achieve you increase your chances of reaching your objective. Research also shows that if you tell someone else your chances get even higher. So let's jot down some notes about what you want to be, do or achieve.

You can use The Dream Setting Workbook to help you with this exercise.

Once you've set some dreams and goals, then tell people who you are close to. You'll be amazed at how people start to help you reach your dreams once you start putting them out into the world.



The information and advice provided in this program is intended to assist you with improving your performance, as well as your general health. It is not intended and should not be used in place of advice from your own physician or for treatment or diagnosis of any specific health issue. By participating in this program you acknowledge that undertaking any new health, diet and/or exercise regime involves certain inherent risks, that you assume such risks, and that you release The Wells Group Inc. from any responsibility or claim relating to such participation.

The Power of Habit

The Power of Habit

The Ripple Effect Program Home Page

KEY POINTS:

1. We fall into habits because we are programmed to conserve energy. But we need to make sure that our habits are helping us achieve our potential.

2. Every habit has three parts: a cue, a routine, and a reward. Instead of focusing on the habit itself (the routine), we need to focus on the cue (what triggers the habit) and the reward (what we get out of the habit).

3. By recognizing our cues and then planning how we will respond to them, we can change our habits.

4. By focusing on the reward, we can sort out why we do it and how it's moving us closer to achieving our dreams. 

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” - Aristotle

Do you ever wonder why Olympic athletes spend so much time training? Certainly they have to develop the strength, endurance, and flexibility they need to excel, but they also have to hone their technique to the point where they can do it without thinking.

Athletes get feedback from their coaches about their technique and then practice the new approach over and over again until it’s automatic. Great practice leads to great habits.

You can make significant strides toward your dream if you know how to build the right habits.

I would like to focus on a particularly excellent book on the subject: The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by New York Times reporter and Harvard Business School graduate Charles Duhigg.

Duhigg explains that 40-45% of the “decisions” we make every day are not actually choices. They are automatic behaviours. He then outlines how every automatic behaviour – every habit – has three parts: a cue, a routine, and a reward.

You might think that changing a habit means focusing on the routine – the behaviour we keep repeating. But we actually need to focus on the cue (what triggers the habit) and the reward (what we get out of the habit).

We are cued to engage in a habit by 1) other people, 2) a time of day, 3) a certain location, 4) a particular emotion, and 5) a behaviour that causes other behaviours. By recognizing our cues and then planning how we will respond to them, we can change our habits. Like sorting out in advance how you can avoid the sugar craving that hits you at 10:30 pm.

Looking at the reward of a habit helps us to sort out why we do it. What do we get out of it? And is the reward moving us closer to achieving our dreams?

The key idea here is to look at your habits and then spend some mental effort finding a new way of handling yourself. Understanding cues and rewards can help your break habits that are getting in the way of improvement.

We fall into habits because we are programmed to conserve energy. No one can sustain a heightened level of mental focus and attention all the time. We need automated processes. But we also need to make sure that our habits are helping us achieve our potential.

It takes 20-120 practice sessions to install a new habit. The average is around 66 days. So remember that for 66 days you need to focus on installing that one new habit until it is routine, then you can redirect that energy somewhere else.

As we move through each module, every two weeks I'll challenge you to incorporate a new habit into your life that will help you improve your performance. By taking just a few minutes each day to consciously practice doing something new, you will lay the foundation for building great habits as we move through the program.



The information and advice provided in this program is intended to assist you with improving your performance, as well as your general health. It is not intended and should not be used in place of advice from your own physician or for treatment or diagnosis of any specific health issue. By participating in this program you acknowledge that undertaking any new health, diet and/or exercise regime involves certain inherent risks, that you assume such risks, and that you release The Wells Group Inc. from any responsibility or claim relating to such participation.

The Power of 1% Better

The Power of 1% Better

The Ripple Effect Program Home Page

KEY POINTS:

1. To achieve your dreams, you have to be committed to improving how you eat, sleep, exercise, and think. A 1% change isn't much, but small improvements each and every day will amplify your life.

2. Being just 1% better every day is like compound interest for your body and mind, where every day’s gain gets added to yesterday’s “principal” so that you earn results on your results. This is called the aggregate of 1% gains.

3. Doing something small each day will leave you with more of everything: more health, more wellbeing, and more human potential.

“Success is a few simple disciplines, practiced every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day.” - Jim Rohn

One of the best approaches I have seen for achieving a dream is to focus on being 1% better.

I work with a lot of incredible people, but it isn’t always talent that drives achievement. What sets the best performers apart is their dedication to practice, learning and training at a consistently high level. And among that group, there is a factor that sets even the elite performers apart: lifestyle.

High performers with daily habits and behaviours that are consistent with their dreams, goals, and objectives tend to be the most successful. In sports I call them “24-hour athletes.”

This is a key idea for this Program. To live a life consistent with your dreams and goals, you have to be committed to improving how you sleep, eat, move, and think. A 1% change might not seem like much, but small improvements each and every day will improve your life exponentially.

Here is an interesting example from the business world: General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt has made 1% Better a mandate. GE collects and analyzes data from its various automated areas of operation to discover how to make micro-improvements in efficiency. Then, using the industrial internet, updates to operating software can be sent to the equipment to create 1% gains in performance. GE estimates that it can boost productivity in the US by 1.5% which, over 20 years, could raise the average national income of the company by 30%. If we use an airplane example, a 1% reduction in fuel costs could save the airline industry $30 billion over 15 years.

Similarly, Dave Brailsford who coached the Team Sky cycling team that won the Tour de France in 2012 and 2013, also applied the principle of aggregating 1% gains. They started by optimizing tire pressure, then working on nutrition, then fitting the bikes to the riders better. This process continued and repeated itself over and over. Ultimately, this approach helped his riders to many championships and medals.

What GE is doing with business processes and Team Sky is doing in sports, you can do with yourself.

How can we gain some inspiration and learn from our best performers to help us in our day-to-day lives? Here are some examples of things that people do to overcome obstacles to exercise – consider them nuggets of gold for all of us.

First Nugget: Start small. For example, after injuries, Olympians have to get right back to the basics and build their health, fitness, and performance from the ground up. You can do exactly the same thing. Go for a 15-minute walk. Do some simple exercises. Go take a yoga class. Just get active. Start very small and build from there.

Second Nugget: Be consistent. Olympians build their strength, flexibility, balance, and cardiovascular fitness over thousands of hours and many years of deliberate practice and training. So don’t worry about it if you get off track for a while. The key is to get back to being active as soon as you can. When you start again you might get frustrated, but each time you get going your health, wellbeing and performance will come back faster and faster.

Third Nugget: Build a routine. Make exercise and physical activity part of your routine. Book it off in your calendar. Make it a priority. That way you won’t have to make a decision about whether or not to do it when you’re busy or if you get tired during your day. World class performers in all disciplines build daily routines to make sure that they can perform on demand. You can do exactly the same thing.

Remember: You only need to be 1 percent better each day. Being just 1% better every day is like compound interest for your body and mind, where every day’s gain gets added to yesterday’s “principal” so that you earn results on your results. Doing something small each day will leave you with more… more strength, more confidence, and more possibilities.

BONUS CONTENT: Here’s an interview I did for The Globe and Mail on how ‘microchanges’ can make a major difference.



The information and advice provided in this program is intended to assist you with improving your performance, as well as your general health. It is not intended and should not be used in place of advice from your own physician or for treatment or diagnosis of any specific health issue. By participating in this program you acknowledge that undertaking any new health, diet and/or exercise regime involves certain inherent risks, that you assume such risks, and that you release The Wells Group Inc. from any responsibility or claim relating to such participation.