SI 003: Fit like Darwin

You have probably heard the phrase 'survival of the fittest', right?


Good old Charlie Darwin and his incredible work 'On The Origin of Species'.


But this use of 'fitness' often gets misconstrued as meaning strongest, or toughest.


It is not necessarily the strongest or toughest species which survives... and nor is that true for individuals.


In fact, in 1963 Leon C Megginson, a management and marketing professor at Louisiana State University, paraphrased it like this:


"According to Darwin’s Origin of Species, it is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself."


Please note, that is not a quote from Darwin himself, as is often misquoted.


But the fact remains... a species which is to survive in a harsh and changing environment has to be adaptable to...

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SI 002: Your habit audit

Good morning!


Hey check me out, I’ve done two weeks in a row, GO ME 


Last week I wrote you a little message about setting the right kind of goals.


Goals which actually MEAN something to you.


This week I think it’s highly worthwhile to explain my concept of a ‘habit audit’


You see, it’s all well and good knowing what you want, and knowing where you are now in relation to those goals.


But without assessing your behaviours you can’t possibly know what changes to start making.


Most people jump in with activities they see other people doing, with no regard to whether it’s too much of a leap for them as an individual.


Does this ring any bells?


New Year’s Resolutions, anyone?


Instead of making blind changes, here’s what I recommend.


List all your daily behaviours under one or the other of the following headings:

  1. Habits which serve me.
  2. Habits which hold me...
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SI 001: You don't want what you think you want...

Happy Saturday!


And welcome to the first edition of my brand new Slight Improvement newsletter.


The idea (as you no doubt already know) is to send you something useful and actionable every Saturday morning.


(you can subscribe here)


We’re talking about habits, routines and lifestyle for improved mental and physical fitness.


I.e.: your capacity to cope with and recover from stress


These emails will be pretty short, as I know you already have a busy life.


I’m about managing stress, not adding more to your plate 


I am also totally open to conversations, so feel free to hit the reply button and ask me a question, or give me some feedback…


What shall I teach you today?


Well, as it’s the first edition, it makes sense to me to give you a starting point for making sustainable changes…




What do I mean?


You have...

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Lockdown 3.0 - 6 Ways to Look After the Fitness of Your Organisation

corporate fitness Jan 19, 2021

As the UK has entered yet another period of mandatory stillness, there are some nasty little issues bubbling under the surface which are best dealt with sooner rather than later.

Let’s divide organisations firstly into three camps: those who are still operating fully from a central workspace, those who are now working entirely remotely, and those who are using a combination of the two.

No matter which group your organisation falls into, there are certain challenges that are faced across the board, even if the details vary.

If your workforce are unable to work from home due to the nature of the business, then many of your people will be concerned about the health risks of mixing with others, for example. They will also be worrying about the knock-on effect on their families, as well as how they are going to juggle childcare when they are in the office now that schools are closed again.

If your people are working remotely, they may be struggling with new technology such as video...

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35 Reminders About Life

Uncategorized Jan 13, 2021

I've always enjoyed a list, so what better way of celebrating my 35th birthday a few days ago than by jotting down 35 reminders about life. These are based on my own experiences throughout my life and are in no particular order, nor is there one reminder for each year. It's a collection of musings, more than anything else. Hopefully you find something of value!

  1. Curiosity is growth.
  2. Failure isn't the end.
  3. People will take the piss, so you might as well give them something to talk about!
  4. Talk to people. Everyone has a story.
  5. Science fucking rocks! It isn't perfect, but it's the best tool we have for learning more about our world, and ourselves.
  6. We’re all gonna die, and nobody knows when.
  7. Rock and roll is a great stress reliever.
  8. Survival of the fittest = survival of those most adaptable to change. Fitness is adaptability.
  9. Alcohol ain't the answer.
  10. Most people work too hard.
  11. Most people work on the wrong shit.
  12. Material wealth is boring.
  13. Talking about material wealth is boring....
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Why is it Cool to Hate New Yearโ€™s Resolutions These Days?

Uncategorized Jan 06, 2021

It’s the first full week of January, and a lot of people are attempting to make positive changes in their lives. How could this possibly be a bad thing?

Well, that depends on who you’re asking, apparently.

Over the past decade I’ve seen resolutions get shat on repeatedly by people (including coaches and professionals) who say things like ‘resolutions are rubbish, set new year GOALS instead’, or the more recent buzzword: ‘intentions’.

For fuck’s sake guys, this isn’t a competition in semantics, you’re supposed to be helping support people in their change, not ridicule them.


Resolutions vs Goals

Resolutions are defined as ‘a firm decision to do or not do something’.

That’s it. What’s your problem with making a firm decision?

In fact, resolutions are far better than goals, because they deal with actions rather than wishy washy possible end-points. Goals are great, but without...

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20 Lessons From 2020

Uncategorized Dec 31, 2020

2020 has been odd, to put it lightly. Nobody thought, as they planned out their resolutions this time last year, that we would be facing the kind of uncertainty that we ended up enduring. But there are lessons within all that mess. Indeed, the more chaotic the circumstance, the greater the lessons. Here are 20 things I've learned (or re-learned) over the past 12 months.

(Listen to the audio version here)

1. Life is uncertain

You never know whatchu gon’ get. Forrest’s mum had it right, the only certain thing is uncertainty. Just when you think you have it figured out, the maze shifts and you’re flailing around again. You don’t have it figured out, nobody does. And we probably never will. 2021 is no more certain, get used to it.

2. Hugs should not be taken for granted

I’ve always been a hugger, but it’s only when something is snatched away that you realise you have been taking it for granted. Physical contact with other humans is a necessity for our...

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How To Sustain Good Habits When You're Unwell

I'm writing this from a place of understanding.

Well, actually I'm writing it from my bed. But you get the idea.

I get ill a fair bit. Due to my medical history, my immune system is pretty shit. It's just the hand I've been dealt.

So with that, I know all too well what it's like to get set up with some awesome new habits, and then suddenly the energy is gone and I can barely get out of bed.

So yeah, I get it.

If this sounds familiar, then I have three things to say which will (hopefully) help you.

1. Allow it

To be quite frank, getting unwell is pretty standard. Everyone has physical and mental health, and unless you're Bruce Willis in Unbreakable you're probably going to go through periods where that health isn't quite where you'd like it to be.

So yeah, allow it.

Accept that you're not firing on all cylinders, and accept that some things are probably going to slip.

2. Keep some going

You're unlikely to be able to keep ALL your habits going while you're unwell, so don't...

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Three Top Tips For Changing Your Habits

fitness habits top tips Jun 16, 2020

This is a nice quick blast of actionable strategies and advice, no fluff.

Know who you want to become. Not what you want to achieve, although that is helpful too, but WHO you want to become. Think about characteristics you would like to have, what kind of person you want to be. Attaching your journey to your identity rather than outcomes can help you be much more consistent with your new routines. If you already have goals, ask yourself what kind of person would achieve those goals. Then be that person.

Start small. Only pick a handful of habits to start with, just three or four. And make sure you pick the easiest ones to change. Don't try and change the biggest things at the start, those can come later. We want to get some easy points on the board early, so start with three to four habits you know you can nail. Success will give you a burst of dopamine which will drive you on to achieve further success when you build on these foundations.

Engineer your environment. Your...

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How Much Time Do I Need To Spend Getting Fit?

More is better, right? Not always.

I work with a lot of people who have busy lives: young kids, demanding jobs, lots of plates spinning. More is definitely not better when it comes to increasing the commitments of my clients.

Whether or not you have a busy life in this way, you may still feel overwhelmed with the amount of time you think you need to put into your fitness in order to see results. You see people hitting the gym for an hour at a time, 6 days per week, and you wonder how you could survive that, let alone fit it in!

I'm going to break it down for you, into three main parts to focus on:

1. Movement

In order to pick up a lot of the health benefits associated with exercise, the NHS recommend 150 minutes per week at a moderate level. This means something which gets your heart and breathing rates up for 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week.

But does this mean there are no benefits if you do less than this? Does it mean that doing 15 minutes per day is pointless, for example?


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