How to Stay Consistent [transcript]

Written by Christopher Kelly

Feb. 28, 2020


Christopher:    Maintaining a diet, losing weight, I don't see any changes in my body after four to five weeks or I get heavier instead of lighter, which makes me give up. Another one here, dealing with chronic injury to significantly reduce my exercise routine. I went from being a professional elite athlete to being unable to do the things I used to do.

    Inconsistent with regular workouts. I often struggle with exercise induced anaphylaxis. I'm a road truck driver. Again, it's that ever changing environment. Consistency across all disciplines, diet, supplements, exercise and lifestyle. It's sometimes difficult to keep all the plates spinning at once. That's a great analogy, keep all those plates spinning at once. And lapse into a routine can be hard to bounce back. It's that kind of I have this relapse and then back. Maybe we need to take a step back. I mean, how do you even go about thinking about that problem of consistency?

Simon:    There's behavioral consistency which is what your actions and how frequent they are or consistent. And then there's consistency in your beliefs or expectations about what you think should be happening. I think we've talked about this before on an earlier podcast in the context of this expectancy theory of motivation whereby an element, this instrumentality concept where we want to do things that work.

    We want to do things that have an impact. And so if there's anything that jeopardizes or questions that what we're doing does that work, it's going to jeopardize our ability to keep this behavioral consistency. I think that part of that is working at it as one setting good habits, and we know that behavioral consistency really stems from habit formation, but it's also still working on setting expectations about what we'd likely to see of outcomes and what are you doing?

    A lot of people who are struggling with weight less get frustrated where they might even see the trend going in the opposite direction. I mean, this no weight loss versus weight gain. It's a difficult one and that impacts behavioral consistency. So, setting expectations, I think, is really important so that you have a little better understanding or acceptance of the journey along the way before you ultimately are able to get the outcomes you want. Most of us struggle with it. I don't think there's anything most people feel as though it's only me that's dealing with this.

    Starting with the assumption that is probably no change, behavioral change, and it's knock on into changes in health are going to be linear, knowing to the best extent that we can based on our research evidence, what shape of that curve or line is like, whether it's a threshold or whether are we going to plateau for a bit. I think that's really critical as well.

    Talking. That involves conversation, talking about what you can expect along the way. And then listening to other people. I mean, when you go from the level of personal experience to when you put yourself in a social environment so that you hear other people's stories. "That happened to me as well. Don't worry. You just have to push through this part. This gets difficult."

    We often find that relapse or when you slip back to your old ways, which is a perfectly normal part of behavior change, and not just normal in the sense that, oh, it happens and don't worry, maybe we should actually be encouraging it sometimes because you're learning some of the coping skills for how to get out of that hole once you fall into it.

Christopher:    One of the core principles that I've heard you talk about, which I think is tremendously helpful, is giving yourself permission to not be perfect all the time. I feel like that's the core thing. I've heard a variety of variations of that come from you. So, we work mostly with athletes, many of them endurance athletes and body composition is a real worry for those people.

    I've done a call directly after you with a client who said something like, "Oh, Simon told me that I could periodize my body composition so it's okay to be a little bit heavier now." That client was elated. They were so happy with the idea that suddenly they -- it wasn't like you gave them permission. It's like you gave them permission--

Simon:    No. I gave them permission.

Christopher:    Oh, really? You've got your skinfold calipers out and have them measure it and said, "Yeah. Okay, you can have that doughnut." No. You gave them permission to give themselves permission to not be at the very best fighting weight or racing weight all year round. A variation of that is the traffic light system that I think we mentioned very briefly but perhaps now would be a good time to revisit that and go into it in more detail because I think you only mentioned it briefly before.

Simon:    One thing that gets people, causes them a little bit of mental anguish is when they're struggling with a change and once that change falls off or slide happens, shit happens in life and you end up having to all hands on beck to keep these plates spinning and things suffer as a consequence, and there's a tremendous amount of guilt and frustration that happens alongside that. "You're a failure. I can't do it. What's the point?" And we tend to engage in all or nothing thinking, catastrophizing or awfulizing. 


Christopher:    Oh my goodness, this is all of my favorite terms.

Simon:    Here we go with the izings. Listen, psychologists have a fondness for an izing.

Christopher:    Yeah. These words though, they're really good at diffusing a situation. I mean, I do it and my wife calls me on it and then she does it and I call her on it. I'll say something like, "It sounds a lot like you're catastrophizing here. Maybe just a smidge of awfulizing." And she's like, "You fucker." You know what I mean? It's like those words.

Simon:    But listen. We know, we can jest about this but when we try and -- I can speak from personal experience about this as well, whether it's trying to cut down on alcohol or trying to stick with your exercise routine, is that once something happens that derails us a little bit and we hadn't already granted ourselves prior permission, like, "Oh, there's a holiday coming up. It's thanksgiving." It's something that it's okay not to be a strict. But just something happens.

    And then we tend to throw ourselves into, "Well, I might as well go all out." Most people will tell you anyway, when this happens you don't just fall off the wagon a little bit. When you go, you go. And because there's this notion that behavior change is a binary thing, you're either doing the behavior or you're not and so if I'm not, I might as well completely not.

Christopher:    Right. What the heck?

Simon:    What the heck, right? And so that just adds to the frustration and the guilt and so on. It feels good on the short term. What we're trying to do is encourage people to see those moments, these moments of relapse as teachable moments. Because you can learn some skills. And this actually comes from the smoking cessation literature and they found that successful quitters have X number of unsuccessful attempts before they eventually quit.

    The people who just go cold turkey first time and stay quit, that's quite an anomaly. What is it that's about relapse that's helping us? You're learning how to pull yourself back up and get back on track again. We can design programs with that in mind and so we can get people to stick to a routine and then we might know these in diets as cheat days where you let the impulse control go a little bit or you just give yourself a little bit more permission to not be as strict with yourself.

    That permission goes a long way to diffusing some of those emotional reactions that come with the catastrophizing and awfulizing because it's the emotional reactions that drive us further and further down this hole of, well, I might as well go to town. So, designing relapse is quite important. Listen, it's okay if you don't manage this completely.

Christopher:    Right. We used to have to have bright lines around what is okay to do because I worry about, with the food in particular, that some of it is being so carefully designed to be hyperpalatable and addictive that it's very difficult not to do some undoable damage on a cheat day. I mean, of course, it depends on your environment. Probably, if you're listening to this, you're in an environment where it's not really possible to cheat.

Simon:    Well, I don't know if there's such a thing as undoable damage. That might be a qualitative distinction.

Christopher:    What I mean by that is that, okay, say I eat five sleeves of Oreos and five pint of ice cream and a whole tray of doughnuts once every seven days and my goal is weight loss. I gained a lot of weight on a cheat day and then I lose some weight over the next five days but then I do it again a short time later. And so, overall, there's a net increase in my weight and so the cheat day is actually undoing me.

Simon:    Yes. So, back to the traffic light analogy metaphor, what we try and do is to say there are periods in your life that will be a little bit more stressful than others, there'll be more demands on your time, and to ahead of time plan for when those might be. It might be if there are deadlines coming up at work. It might be around holiday or vacation times. It just might be there's part of our typical routines that just get really busy and stressful.

    And so what we try and do is we have folks list all of their health habits that they're trying to stick with and then we say, okay, which of these must always stay? Which of them I must because they're -- the amount of sleep that I'll get or trying to get 30 minutes of exercise in -- which must I always try and stick it? Or particular foods that I'm going to pay the price for in a few days if I have this now?

    So, you identify the must stays and then you say, well, what are the ones that when times are moderately stressful, you give this to the amber light symbol as opposed to like when you're very busy and things are really stressful and what I must still preserve my health habits? So, the amber light is, okay, stuff that's nice to have but if I just don't have those or not doing those things for a week or two it's not going to be too disastrous for myself.

    It might be the type of exercise you do or how often you're eating out or whatever it happens to be. And then the green light moment are when everything is sort of, you're cooking on gas, everything is fine. This is what you ideally like your life to be like. It's not something that's idealistic and you'd never been able to live like that but it's something that you think you can sustain for long periods.

    And so this traffic light analogy, what we're doing is we're prioritizing our habits. And so we're saying when I come into a moment of my life that's amber or red, I'm going to give my permission. I give myself permission to not be perfectly compliant with all these things that I'm trying to do.


    It's okay. I'm going to go to run on this slimmed down version of my habits that I've already pre-planned ahead of time but must stay and so. It's really thinking. You're coping. You're periodizing your health habits rather than I must do this all year round. That alone, outside of freeing up time, so you've got some defenses left to cope with those other stressful times. It's also partly for that emotional psychological permission to say it's okay to do all of these things all the time.

Christopher:    I think this is really helpful because if you're anything like me listening to a lot of podcasts and you've got this huge collection of health habits that you like to maintain but, of course, sometimes life gets in the way and that's what leads to the catastrophizing is, "Oh no, I didn't get to do my ten minutes of meditation today. I'm a worthless human. What the heck? I'm just going to go back to eating."

Simon:    And what happens is that, "Oh, I haven't done it today so it's okay to not do it tomorrow too because I never did it yesterday anyway." And then before you know it you haven't done anything for two weeks. Then it's saying, "Okay, in these amber times, it's okay that every other day." That might be the strategy that you use. I start meditating every other day as opposed to every day or I meditate three times a week as opposed to seven days a week and so on.

Christopher:    I have a lightly held belief that is that you only lose weight on the green light days. I think it's something we've seen a lot. People who had been unsuccessful at losing weight and then when you look at the life situation it just doesn't seem appropriate to me. I'm not sure I really have any hard evidence to support this idea but let's just say that 10,000 years ago having these types of stress inputs to your brain would signal it to hang on to energy because these might be awful times. Maybe food is going to stop coming and so this will be a terrible time to lose weight so I'm not going to. That's to say that the brain controls everything. Do you agree with that? Do you think that you should wait until it's a green light zone before you attempt to change your body composition?

Simon:    I think this comes down to how you prioritized which of the health outcomes are most important to you. If you know that weight is one of those that can make or break how you feel on any given day then it might be something that you try and keep. Remember, focus on the behaviors not the outcomes, if they are behaviors that contribute to weight loss or contribute just to weight maintenance.

    In these stressful periods you just don't want -- if you're trying to lose weight, not gaining weight might be goal. I just want to stay weight neutral for these periods. But focusing on the behaviors that are going to help you do that might be the ones that you must always have. That might just be simply because you know that if I start to feel as though I'm gaining weight and I know that that's going to lead to some cascade of thoughts and feelings that just make the problem worse, I start beating myself up and then I start to binge eat or emotionally eat or all the other things that you might have resorted to, that tide may be really hard to turn around.

    It might be that comes a part of you. I don't think there's a hard and fast rule that weight loss should only be attempted when you're in this green light, great days.

Christopher:    What about injury? We had a couple of people that I mentioned. They have problem -- I mean, obviously, you have a problem with consistency when you're injured. I know that you're working with triathletes and runners in particular seem to be very prone to injuries, cyclists, of which I'm one, maybe not so much unless I crash my mountain bike into a tree, so I don't face this problem personally as much, but what do you do when you can't move your body because it's injured?

Simon:    It's interesting because psychologists have studied sport injury quite a lot and one of the initial conclusions was that the emotional reaction that you have to injury tells us quite a lot about your success of coping with it. And not just your success with coping with it, your prediction of re-injury. So, how you cope with injury one tells us a lot about your risk of injury two independent of conventional risk factors for getting injured in the first place, overtraining and so on.

    Injury coping is a really important topic, I think, for athletes to understand a little bit more. One of the things that we know is that how we make decisions during our injury. This is more, I guess, getting into coping with an injury successfully rather than how do I maintain the behavior so I'm not just completely my identity is threatened and so on. The first attempt was to think, well, maybe the reaction to injury really follows the reaction that you get when you have been told that you have a terminal illness or a bereavement.

Christopher:    Right. It's grief.

Simon:    Right. It's Elizabeth Kubler-Ross' five stages of grief. Some athletes undoubtedly appear to go through what is essentially unabbreviated grief response. We have anger, denial, acceptance, and so on. But now we know that that's not the case. Most athletes don't go through that. And what really happens is you go through this appraisal process. So, when psychologists talk about appraisal, they really are referring to the way how we make sense of events. So, why did the injury happen? What does it mean for my rehabilitation? What will my life look like and how has it changed and how does that have consequences for what I'm going to be doing after that?


    So, how we can intervene in that appraisal process is really important. One of the really common things that we find with athletes is that they're very proactive when they're training. They're hustling all the time for plate spinning. When they become injured they become this passive blob and they lose all of this, they don't get second opinions, they don't try and find out what's wrong with them. They might not even go and see a doctor or physical therapist. They just wait for it to pass.

    We know that that's not an effective strategy partly because you're wallowing in all these emotions and most of them are negative, frustration and anger and guilt and sometimes depression. So, being proactive cognitively is really important. One of the things is that we say where is your, we call it, your investigative health hustle? Where's your attempt to find out exactly why this happened?

    And it's not just symptoms or it's not just finding out how I can treat injury now but what caused the injury in the first place? You can work on biomechanical courses when you're injured. There's many great cases of athletes who have been able to stay positive proactive by focusing on overhauling aspects of their mechanics or something while they're injured so that their version 2.0 of themselves post injury is much better.

Christopher:    I can give you a story that illustrates how not to do it from 2013 when I was a more competitive mountain biker. I still mountain bike but not as competitively as I did then. I was training for the 2013 BC Bike Race and I had quite a lot invested in my fitness at that point. I was doing probably 20 hours a week of training which was a lot for me at that time and it's been a lot of me any point in my life.

    I had an eight-hour race coming up that I was doing with a partner. So we do four hours each, I guess, on-off, on-off. I was doing a normal ride, training ride not long before that and I crossed a creek and my front tire submerged in the water and there was a rock submerged that I couldn't see because it was submerged and I didn't take the time be cautious. I just barreled through it. My front wheel just stopped dead on the submerged rock and then my back wheel went up. It was about to go over the handle bars but not quite.

    It got to the balance point and then it swung around and my leg cracked into a rock that was alongside me, pretty much broke my fibula right then and there and it hurt like fuck and I just carried on. I rode out there and drove home. I think at that time I was so addicted to exercise. My mental health was not good and I was self-medicating with exercise that I carried on.

    It was obvious. It hurt too much to ride off road at that point so I couldn't do the eight-hour race. I went to the eight-hour race. Julie was racing, actually. My wife was racing. I went off road riding my road bike because, obviously, I couldn't ride off road. I did 100 miles on the first day on my road bike in the heat in Northern California and then I rode home the next day. We slept in the car that night. I was basically sleeping with a broken leg. 

    I had my foot in one of those air boots. We stepped in the back of Julie's Subaru and I got up in the morning and I rode home, another 100 miles home. And the day after that I went to ride again and I went to hop a curve and there was this excruciating pain and a sound like something popping. I went back to the sports medicine doctor and they x-rayed it and they're like, "Yeah, you're really fucked it now. Now, you need surgery." The fibula was completely shattered. So rather than taking that opportunity to recover and do something else I just pushed on.

Simon:    Yeah. We talk about the delusion funnel. The delusion funnel is the period leading up. And then we're talking about chronic injuries here, not so much--

Christopher:    Yeah. This is an acute thing.

Simon:    But it had -- there were warning signs at that time. So, delusion funnel. They are usually, for most injuries that are chronic, there are signs, people with little red flags waving at you to pay attention to. What we have a tendency to do because we have a confirmation bias is that we ignore those and think that, well, I don't have any pain. I'm feeling like -- yeah, because you're having six ibuprofen every day that's why you're not feeling pain.

    You're in this delusion funnel where you're choosing to select, where you're using selective attention on the things that are telling you that you can continue or not. We can't really trust our own brains to make good sensible decisions about it particularly if you've got some dependency issues with exercise anyway. That's why outsourcing, having someone else in your camp where you have many athletes keep journals of symptoms and then asking or letting your coach read through the journals so that you can detect, well, now you've been saying that it really hurts when you get out of bed first thing in the morning. 

    It goes away after a few hours but now this has happened for the last eight days straight. So, having someone else look over your notes and writing things down is a wonderful way of getting some detachment from the experience that you're feeling. That's really important. So, yeah, delusion funnels get people and tipping points getting people into a lot of trouble.

Christopher:    And at the same time though I wasn't capable of listening to advice from the outside. Julie was there telling me, "You're fucking bonkers. You've got broken leg and you're continuing to ride your bike." But at that time, I think a feral cat is probably a good description. When cornered, it gets aggressive or tries to get out or can't be picked up, can't be handled in any way. I was probably really mean, really aggressive, didn't want her to stay with me. In fact, I can remember having an argument about that.


    I was like, "I'm fine. I can make it around the apartment on crutches. You don't need to be here." I've been really mean. And that was all downstream of the exercise dependency problem. That has changed a lot, I think, over the years as my health has improved.

Simon:    Many athletes, it takes -- you can't ultimately force people to do things unless they're under the age of 18 [0:20:17] [Indiscernible] caregivers, and often it takes -- and Lesley's the same -- you take an experience like that and the time that you weren't extricate yourself from it, but now you know that I never want to be like that again or make that mistake again. You do actually change your behavior accordingly. Sometimes you just have to hit rock bottom for that to happen.

Christopher:    Yeah. In triathlon especially I feel like there's lots of opportunities. You write about that in your book The Brave Athlete. Okay. So now you can't run anymore. Is this an opportunity to get better at swimming? Is there something else that you could be doing that you otherwise wouldn't be doing because you're injured? That, I think, is a really good point. I think it's a very personal thing. Everyone is going to have to think pretty hard. What's the thing I could be working on now that I'm injured?

Simon:    In fact, a good strategy for figuring that out is what we call a performance profile. A performance profile is a bit like a big pie. You write down the things that it takes to be good at your sports. Some of those are very obvious. They're like my biomechanics of running or my flexor hip mobility or something. Some of them are a little bit more tenuous. It might be my ability to emotionally cope with disruptions to my schedule and so on.

    You write them down and then you rate yourself on the scale of one to ten how good you are at these things. Ideally, we'd like to all be ten out of tens on everything and we're not. But we do do is have a tendency to rate ourselves better than we actually are. The second part of that is you then ask a coach or even someone who knows you and knows the sport really well to rate you on the same dimensions.

    You look for the discrepancy between the two. I think I'm really good at something but you clearly don't think I'm good at this. And you use that as an indicator of what things to focus on when you're injured. How can I work on coping with my emotional responses to injury when I'm injured? Well, you can learn a little bit about what's happening in the brain when you appraise injuries or if you're feeling really angry and how do I cope with anger as an injured athlete?

    Do I just try and suck it up and get through it or do I have moments where I -- we often talk about a wallow period. You schedule wallowing time so that you let yourself be angry and pissed off and annoyed but you also define boundaries to that. So I'm going to flip a switch on Sunday night. I'm going to let myself completely lose it and then after that I'm going to commit to turning a corner mentally for it rather than just let it drip.

    There's a whole bunch of strategies you can do to help cope with that emotional rollercoaster that you go on. It's an entirely normal reaction and, obviously, the more important it is to you the more exaggerated some of these responses are.

Christopher:    What advice would you give to somebody whose situation makes it hard for them to be consistent? We have, for example, here the truck driver. We've actually worked with some -- I can't think of one but I can definitely think of one client, she recently graduated from the elite performance program, an amazing woman who drove a truck for Walmart and hugely invested in her health and did all the things that we recommend on our program.

    Eventually, she said, "You know what, the problem is that I'm a truck driver and I'm never going to get that last 20% unless I give up my job and giving up my job means that I can't afford to pay for the program." And I was like, "High five, sister. That's what you got to do." Yeah, I'm sure she's doing great now. But, I mean, what do you do when giving up my job as a truck driver is not an option? What advice would you give to be consistent?

Simon:    Yeah. I think this comes back to what we started talking about, is this behavioral consistency, is that how that you're defining what behaviors do you constitute acceptable or important? Most people make the mistake of behavior change in a far too grandiose big way. This is the classic New Year's resolution, these big huge ambitious goals.

    There's nothing wrong with having those but they're very hard to sustain. So, you have to downgrade the level of scale how long they take, so having tiny small thing or what can you do? Most of us have jobs where we can usually fit in something. Again, the goal is partly the behaviors contributing to our health but it's also the fact that mentally I know that I'm still working on, I'm still doing something. I haven't sort of thrown the towel in. So trying to find very small manageable things that you can do.

    This comes back -- this is a good example of when I'm driving as a truck driver they might all be red periods. When I'm at home they become green. And actually, when I'm in between jobs but I'm still away from home they might be amber. So it's like what does my -- how can I modify some of the behaviors? I can't do everything when I'm at home that I can't do when I'm on the road. So, what does that look like? What do my red light behaviors look like on the road? Rather than just thinking I can't do any of those so I'm not going to bother and then you're on this see-saw all the time. It would be modulating the amount and frequency and the scope of what you can tackle.

Christopher:    I think one of the problems I faced in the past, and I think I'm over it now but I'm not sure I'm entirely over it, is the idea that if I'm not in the gym doing dead lifts then I might as well do nothing. It really doesn't have to be like that. 


    I think I found tremendous value in what some people would call greasing the groove. Rather than I go to the gym twice a week and then the rest of the time I'm sat in this chair driving a truck or programming a computer, my job, like if we were to put a camera there and film me, I look like a truck driver. If I'm not sat in this chair programming a computer then I'm on a bike also sitting. There's a lot of sitting involved. Any opportunity to move, I think, is useful and you should take it.

Christopher:    And not just from those behavioral habits but from a motivation perspective. The biology of motivation, we've talked about this before about how dopamine pathways work. Remember, dopamine is driving the needing or wanting to continue. And then when we stop we're almost putting a halt on that method as well of keeping the momentum.

    By having tiny habits that you might think, well, this is really making -- if I'm doing four chin-ups on my chin-up bar, is that really going to make much of a difference. Well, there's the physical outcome of that but then there's also how we're creating that motivation momentum going. So, you're more likely to want to continue and do six or do eight if you have some baseline level of activity to begin with.

    And that's the notion that really motivation is like a snowball and the hardest thing is to get started but you've got to try and keep the pilot light on. That's really, I guess, the essence. Once the pilot light goes out, once you stop--

Christopher:    Then it's really hard.

Simon:    It's extremely difficult to keep going. You're trying to keep the pilot light on because that's going to make it much easier to build the momentum again.

Christopher:    If I was driving a truck -- I mean, this is what I do do. I love the PowerDot electrical muscle stimulation. You're not terribly familiar with it, are you?

Simon:    I know it, yeah.

Christopher:    You know it. Basically, you put this electrode on your legs and then somebody else does it for you, no brain required. It stimulates the muscle. I'm not sure -- Well, driving truck that might be -- you definitely want to do the --

Simon:    And they are a little bit contentious as well [0:26:46] [Indiscernible] how they help or what they're actually doing.

Christopher:    Yeah. So, I could link a study that showed that well-trained athletes were able to increase their box jump height. But this is with a maximal force titanic contractions that I don't think you'd want when you're driving a truck. Don't do that. Having kettlebells everywhere I find really helpful. My wife goes nuts every time you trip over a kettlebell you have to use it. That's really helpful. Those kind of environmental triggers.


    You could totally do that in a truck. You could have a kettlebell. You could put a 45-pound kettlebell in the foot wall next to you and then every time you get an opportunity to stop, to take a bathroom break or something, do some goblet squats, do some kettlebell swings.

Simon:    That's just habit stacking, trying to get small manageable--

Christopher:    Yeah. And you won't even be thinking about it. So, no motivation, no thinking about consistency required. It's just something I do every time I take a toilet break. And you'll end up doing more than most people just because you take a lot of, well, I don't know how it really works, the logistics of a truck, how often you stop. And time is money, I'm sure.

Simon:    Yeah, absolutely. So the take home message is small steps, try and build them into a daily routine and you'll be surprised at how a small tiny behavior adapt over time. It doesn't always have to be one completely immersive period of exercise.

Christopher:    Do you have anything to say about this idea of keeping the plates spinning? I get it. I see that's a good analogy. I can feel like how some people especially parents are feeling like they're keeping the plates spinning. Obviously, consistency is hard when everything is spinning in the air like that. You stop putting input even for a moment and something drops to the floor and smashes.

Simon:    I think that there's something to be said for we worry that what happens when the plate stops spinning and crashes to the floor. We often make these assumptions that this catastrophic breakdown in how my life operates will happen. Those assumptions are often based on things that are far from logical or rational. One thing, and this is really the theme of essentialism now, is to say sometimes plates stop spinning and they break and so what?

    What things that you convince yourself are absolutely critical to keep spinning that on? And sometimes it takes them to stop spinning and break to realize how unimportant they actually were. Because we get caught in this little hamster wheel. We've convinced ourselves that the plates must keep spinning for us to be happy and life to keep going on as we want. Those assumptions are usually grounded in not very good evidence. I'm not talking about I don't need to pick my children up from school so they stay there for a week.

Christopher:    That will be fine. They will find a way home.

Simon:    They'll be fine. They'll find a way home. And this comes back to permission and some forced relapse, is that when you find that things slip off your ability to sustain them then the world still turns, it's not catastrophic, and sometimes it takes that experience to find that out. Yeah, I think rather than just immediately focused on how to keep the plates still spinning, it's also one of do these plates need to keep spinning? What happens if they don't? What can you slim down using the red, amber and green light analogy, to say it's okay if those plates -- I think we flopped this analogy to death now with plate spinning.

Christopher:    It was a good one. That's why I wanted to use it. Maybe this is a good place to wrap up this episode on consistency but join us over on the forum, I would love for this podcast to be more interactive. I've spent the last five years talking to people that can't talk back and now it's time for those people to talk back and for us to form a community. Join us over at Thank you so much for being our patron. We really appreciate you. Thank you.

[0:30:22]    End of Audio 

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