baby footprint in the sand representing baby steps towards the cadence approach

Baby Steps: getting started with the Cadence Approach™

It’s easy to overestimate what you can achieve in a short period of time, and underestimate what you can achieve in the long term. We can also trip ourselves up by overcomplicating things; Google anything to do with health and wellbeing and you’ll get thousands of results. It can be bewildering and can lead to inertia, and ultimately nothing gets done.

That’s where baby steps come in. Small, progressive steps towards a goal. This is also called the Minimal Effective Dose, whereby you determine what the smallest achievable thing is and do that; while small, it does progress you towards your desired outcome.

The Cadence Approach™

The Cadence Approach™ is inspired by athletes who generally are very good at managing and restoring their energy levels and avoiding burnout. They look ahead to their schedule and identify the big events; prepare themselves by focusing on their mind, body and wellbeing; perform at high level and then taking a break to allow their minds and bodies to recover.

Take the example of Serena Williams, one of the most decorated athletes of our time. Even at her elite level, she won’t expect to be ‘Wimbledon fit’ all year round. She’ll prepare for the big tournaments and then get those crucial moments of recovery afterwards.

What this means for you

We can apply this model to our personal and professional lives, to beat burnout and have more fun in life. The phases of the Cadence Approach™ are to:

  • predict what’s coming up
  • prepare by focusing on sleep, mental health and energy
  • perform (complete the task or event)
  • then recover (what I call slivers of recovery)
Cadence approach graphic

So, let’s get started using the Baby Steps idea

Ask yourself, when are your Wimbledons? When are the next big events coming up for you? It might be welcoming a new baby into the family or taking on a promotion at work.

Then consider what small improvement or tweak you could make to your sleep routine, for example. Could you create a ‘golden hour’ of no screen time or bright lights one hour before bed?

It could also be:

  • Thinning out your schedule at the weekend so you can get a little more rest
  • Taking 30 mins out for a nature walk
  • Enjoying a long bath
  • Doing a 10-minute movement snack to stay energised

That’s how you take baby steps towards creating more time and energy for yourself. Also possibly inuring yourself to the unpredictable events that life throws at us as well. Every time you do an activity as part of the prepare phase, you ‘build your bulletproof’ by making yourself 1% more resilient. All this matters when life throws you a curveball and you’re expected to react.

So, when is your next Wimbledon, and what’s the smallest thing you can do today to prepare for that?

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