Resetting your defaults


Scapular motion in multiple planes

  • Dad wisdom: Resetting your defaults
  • Focus: Table stakes for attention
  • Fitness: Scapular motion in multiple planes
  • A book, a quote, a dad joke

Dad Wisdom: Resetting your defaults

The default settings of the world may not line up with your health values. Ultra-processed foods may be more accessible than whole foods. Long periods of sitting may be more standard than frequent movement. A constant stream of input may be easier — and more expected — than silence.

To counter these defaults, you can create your own within the spaces you have control over. The simplest version is to create environmental prompts for the actions you wish to take via strategic placements, like a visible cup for drinking more water or a readily accessible yoga mat.

BJ Fogg’s "SuperFridge" involves a consistent, up-front investment in shopping and food prep but, in exchange, creates a home environment where opening up the fridge offers only options that are both convenient and in alignment with how he and his partner want to eat.

An approach with even greater initial investment but longer-term reliability would be to redesign a specific space for a single purpose, like reading, meditation, or exercise. Here, I typically recommend building MVP versions to test before making a larger investment.

These thoughts are inspired by a recent Dad Strength call.

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Focus: Table stakes for attention

After distraction, it takes an average of 15 minutes to re-orient to a primary task after a distraction such as an email. In these transitional gaps, efficiency, creativity, and long-term memory can suffer. Yet, 15 minutes feels more and more challenging to sequester as time goes on. So, what’s the solve?

Physical environments, as above (and as conceptualized last week), can sometimes be arranged to eliminate distracting prompts. However, internal environments are also essential. Lately, I’ve been treating focus in the same way that runners treat distance — focusing on just getting past the next lamppost instead of stopping. This type of approach has us begin by noticing the desire to shift focus and — rather than think about the total distance — focus on just pushing our ability to stay in motion a little bit longer.

Fitness: Scapular motion in multiple planes

Here’s an experiment: stick your arms out straight in front of you. Now, use your shoulder blades to move things back and forward — keeping your elbows locked out the whole time. If you can’t do this easily, stay with it.

If you can, here’s whats next: raise your arms 15º or so, rinse and repeat with your shoulder blades moving along the same plane. And again and again — all the way up to an overhead position, with your shoulder blades moving vertically.

If this is challenging, take note of what your default strategies are — and what you need to do to change them.

Start standing. Evolve to here.


“There are things I wish I had not done during my children’s early years, but mostly I regret what I did not do: give my children the gift of a mindful, secure and reliable parental presence. I wish I had known how to allow myself to relax, to release myself from the compulsions driving me and to fully enjoy the wonderful little persons they were.”

― Gabor Maté

Dad joke

What do you call a place that makes things okay?

A satisfactory

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