Why You've Got To Check Out Today's Episode:

  • Learn about becoming a habit mechanic.
  • Learn how to adopt habit-based strategies.
  • Understand your habits and get better at building more helpful ones.




[00:00:00] Kathi Burns:
Hi there. I'm board certified professional organizer Kathi Burns. I'm really glad you're here. This podcast is designed for busy entrepreneurs just like you, who wanna take better control of your business and move forward with less stress and more success. If this is your first time listening, then thanks for coming. The Organized Energized Podcast is produced for your enjoyment and show notes are found at thepodcast@organizedandenergized.com. Come back often and feel free to add this podcast to your favorite RSS feed or iTunes. You can also follow me on Twitter at Organized Energy and Facebook. All links are in the show notes. Now, let's get into the show.

Hi everyone. I'm back, and today I'm speaking with Dr. Jon Finn. Jon founded the award-winning Tougher Minds consultancy and has three psychology related degrees, including a PhD. He has worked in performance tech, psychology, resilience, and leadership science for over 20 years. Tougher Minds uses cutting edge insights from psychology, behavioral science, neuroscience of world champions to help organizations develop habit mechanics and chief habit mechanics. Resilient people, outstanding leaders, and world class team. So if you're ready to build a team or if you have a team, we're gonna talk about that. And really we're gonna talk about resilience too, cause that's what this podcast is all about. So let's jump in.

Hi everyone, This is Kathy, and today I am with Dr. Jon Finn. I'm so excited because we're gonna talk a lot about resilience and how to beat that person on your back that's just talking to you about you can't do it, and how we're gonna bounce back. Welcome John to the show. I'm so happy to have you here.

[00:01:47] Dr. Jon Finn:
Delighted to be here. Kathi. Thank you for having me.

[00:01:50] Kathi Burns:
Absolutely. I know you have a lot of degrees in your background, but talk to me a little bit about the journey on what got you to where you are with behavioral science and resilience.

[00:02:02] Dr. Jon Finn:
Yeah, so when I was 18, I went to university to study sport science, physiology, psychology, nutrition, motor control. That's the science of how we learn. And I got really interested in the psychology side of it. I was a very good rugby player and I got selected to playing the international rugby student squad. We were playing in a warmup game before an Australia test match and I was the fullback and it was a cold wet windy day in the north of England. I was 19. We were playing against the men's professional team, and the ball went high up into the air. I was stood on my goal line. All I had to do was catch the ball, which I'd done thousands of times before, but all I could say to myself was, Don't drop it. Don't drop it. Don't drop it. And of course, but I didn't even drop the ball. I just completely missed the ball. This got a try. I got substituted. I didn't get selected for the match. I sustained quite a bad injury around then as well. I ruptured one of my quads, so I wasn't gonna be playing high level rugby anymore, so I decided if I can't play, I want to help people to be at their best.

I made it my goal to become high performance, a performance psychologist. I went on to study masters, eventually a PhD, and just made it my mission to help other people to be at their best. And I was lucky around the time I was doing my master's, a technology called functional MRI scanners, which was the first tech that allowed us to see inside people's brains in real time. It became cheap enough for researchers to buy it and start to use it. And I was studying with a group of scientists that were really interested in the neuroscience of performance psychology. So I was on the cutting edge of that piece of work. What really rang home for me was that all the things that we'd been taught were very much about helping people to know what they should do differently. Very little about but how do you actually help people to make sustainable change? And this is still the case. Most of the advice that's out there, is based on theories, insights that are not based on how brands actually work. They're based on what we call black box theories. So I made it my mission to actually take insights from cutting engineer science, behavioral science, and make them really simple for people to implement in their lives.

And of course, what all that science shows is that most of what we're doing most of the time is mindless behavior, it's automatic or semiautomatic. In other words, it's a habit. So Pop psychology's done a really bad job in educating people about how important habits are, because most of that work is based on black box theories. It's outdated theories that say habits are about 50% of what we do. We think of habits as, things that we do. We don't think of our habit as beating yourself up, worrying too much. Perhaps as habitual as anything else. So we have a tiny bit of consciousness. We've either got 2% consciousness max or zero habits of running. At least 90% of what we're doing is sometimes it's everything. So we are extremely mindless. A good example is most of us understanding it, in fact they agree. We agree that it's a good idea to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day and to walk 10,000 steps. In the UK for example, the National Health Service, which is the biggest company in Europe, spends more than half of its annual budget every year, treating diseases that emerge because people don't eat five portions of fruit of vegetate and they don't want 10,000 steps. We don't do what we know we should do. We do what we're in the habit of doing. So the key is to build better habits and it's not nice to have. It's driving you. It's driving your family habits, drive your business, and yet we don't think about them. Because they're invisible to us.

[00:06:18] Kathi Burns:
I thought you were gonna say that we know we're supposed to do the 10,000 steps. We know we're supposed to eat, but we don't know why. And that's probably true too. It's just one of those things that we're supposed to be doing that, but yet we don't do it. had a quick question during that story when you said, don't drop the ball. Don't drop the ball, don't drop the ball. And then you didn't even catch it. I thought that was interesting. Cuz usually I think, with programming your mind, I think you would catch it and then drop it it seems like to me. But also how long did it take you to figure out, did you know immediately that's where your disconnect was? Or did you have to look back on that game and say, Oh, okay that was the deal?

[00:06:59] Dr. Jon Finn:
Yes. Looking back, that was an important point. But when you are, 19, the parts of your brain that allow you to do the very conscious thinking are not properly wired. Cause for males, those parts of the brain are not properly wired until we're in about 25. Females, about a year ahead. So we get written off when, 16, 17, 18, 19, early twenties. But our brains are not properly wired yet. That story isn't, I knew what I should do, but the habits didn't allow me to do that because brain's a threat detection machine. So it was about the threat of messing it up, looking bad, et cetera. And that took over because, the threat detection parts of the brain run the brain ultimately.

[00:07:46] Kathi Burns:
That's quite interesting. So what's the one lesson is you've helped so many businesses and helped them resilience. What do you think is the main lesson that you've learned through helping other businesses be resilient? Is there one factor? Do you think it's the beliefs and the habits, or what would you say about.

[00:08:05] Dr. Jon Finn:
There are nine factors that drive what we do. So it's not about just belief is maybe is one of those factors. The why I said before is another. So that's two. There's still seven more. So we've got to understand the behavioral science that drives what we do. We've gotta understand what our brains are designed for. We've been around as a species for over 300,000 years. And our world has dramatically changed even in the last few years. Our world was dramatically changed. So what we're designed to do isn't what we get asked to do every day. We're designed to walk about 12 miles a day to move around and solve problems.

[00:08:44] Kathi Burns:

[00:08:45] Dr. Jon Finn:
That's what we think. Anthropologically. Yeah. And when we move around, it's easier for us to think cleverly. Cause we get this protein called BDNF released into our brain. So if we want to help people in businesses to be at their best. We first of all have to understand what their brain is designed to do and what are the factors that drive what they do. The behavioral science, and that's why I wrote the book, The Habit Mechanic, to make it really simple for people to understand these things and to help themselves and their people to build better habits. So a lot of the work that I do on a day to day is helping senior leaders in businesses to move away from what we call knowledge based strategies. So their strategic plans that map out this is what we need to do in the business to achieve our goals and help 'em to move towards what we call habit based strategies. That is what are the habits our people need to develop and adapt. And adopt in order to help the business to achieve. I saw an interesting start reason that said only 9% of businesses, and this is in the US, are happy with their performance management systems. Only 9% of businesses think their performance management systems work. Wow. That is amazing. If you went to a professional sports team and asked them, How happy are you? With your player fitness and conditioning levels, you would get, at least, I think you'd get over 95% saying, Yeah, we're really happy because they use science to inform how they get their players fit.

[00:10:30] Kathi Burns:
But you're used to thinking about performance management. I wonder how many companies really think about that. More and more they have, I know here in the US they have a computer that'll be at the top of the hour saying, Okay, get up and move, and, small little things like that. But nothing along the lines of what sports leagues.

[00:10:47] Dr. Jon Finn:
Businesses are investing millions and millions of pounds into this. So most businesses have performance management systems. That's everything from the peer review structure to your annual reviews and all that stuff is designed to get people doing the right things. And they're all saying it doesn't work. It doesn't work because it's not based on how people actually operate and the science that drives us. So for me if we look what sport science has done for professional sport in the last 20 years where it's looked at what makes people physically fitter? What's the science of human physiology? And it started to use that to inform how it helps players to get fitter neuroscience and behavioral science of the equivalent for as in our professional and in fact home lives. We can use that science, what you might call habit science to actually make it easier for us to do the kind of things that we'd like to do and know that we should do to be healthier and happier and at our best more often individually and collectively. So I think from a business perspective, if you want to help yourself and your people to build better habits, I'd start with the habit mechanic, cuz that's what it was. That's what it's written to do. And already people are telling over 10,000 people use our approaches. And already people are saying the book has changed their life and it's starting to change how people, you know do in their businesses as well in the hybrid workplace.

[00:12:18] Kathi Burns:
I love it. I love it. And congratulations on your success. Everyone out there listening, this is a best selling book and you should definitely grab a copy of it and we'll have a link for you at the, at, below the podcast here. Throughout your youth and throughout your growing up, what's the best pieces of advice that you ever learned from maybe one of your coaches or your parents or relatives? Is there something that sticks in your mind that was a really good takeaway?

[00:12:45] Dr. Jon Finn:
I think the best pieces of advice is that you never lose an hour, which means every hour you invest in you, get back one way or another, even if it doesn't pay you back immediately, which is from my father condition. So I worked with my father from maybe being 12, 13 years old, building sites, etcetera. They would work 12 hour days, 60 hour weeks. Leave firm four o'clock on a Monday morning to travel down to London, get back at seven o'clock on a Friday night. So that was, hard work was drilled into me. That's the thing with being a business owner, isn't it? Is that someone isn't paying your wage for you. That the work if you're getting paid a wage every week, you're guaranteed a return on the energies you put in and you invest when you're working for yourself, you don't get the same short term guarantees necessarily. So it's having the confidence that what you invest back you're gonna get back eventually. So you don't lose an hour that you invest in yourself.

[00:13:42] Kathi Burns:
I love that. That's really good advice. And I've never heard it coined that way. So that's great piece. Go dad. So he did construction he built buildings or is that what he did? Contractor?

[00:13:52] Dr. Jon Finn:
Yeah, so he builds laboratories and he has a factory now that makes the furniture for that. And all my siblings work for him.

[00:13:59] Kathi Burns:
Awesome. And then you broke away and you said...

[00:14:01] Dr. Jon Finn:
I'm scared. Yeah. Yeah. That's good.

[00:14:03] Kathi Burns:
That's fantastic. Do you have a favorite hack that you use to keep yourself organized as you go throughout the work week?

[00:14:11] Dr. Jon Finn:
Yeah I think the spine of becoming a habit mechanic is to work out what are your destructive habits, what your super habits. And that's what the habit mechanic book is about. It shows you how to work those things out. As part of my journey is to becoming a habit mechanic and still growing as habit mechanic, as I develop my habit mechanic intelligence and my chief habit mechanic intelligence, there's a backbone of what I call super habits to my day. So super habits are disproportionately have a disproportionately disproportionate positive impact on my day. Destructive habits have a disproportionately negative impact on my day. So one of the first super habits that I do every day, or the first super habit is I go for a run. I go for a run. It gets the right chemicals working in my brain so that when I come back from the run, I'm ready to do my work. To do my most challenging jobs of the day. Help me to regulate what I eat, helps me to be more productive, helps me to finish work on time, helps me to accumulate more exercise so I can sleep better at night. You're just doing that one thing has all these other beneficial effects. Another super habit is called the Daily TEA Plan, and if you're interested in the Daily TEA Plan and learning how to do it, it's the first chapter in the book. It's also the core part of what we do in the Habit Mechanic University, which is a free app, which is on Apple and Google Player. So we have a community of habit mechanics who just launched this actually. The core thing we do in the app is we share the Daily TEA Plan.

[00:15:46] Kathi Burns:
Oh, daily teapot. Okay. That's interesting.

[00:15:49] Dr. Jon Finn:
Daily TEA Plan. Plan.

[00:15:50] Kathi Burns:
Oh, plan. Okay.

[00:15:52] Dr. Jon Finn:
Tiny Empowering Action.

[00:15:54] Kathi Burns:
I love it. What would be an idea of a destructive habit that would just compound your day and give you a bottleneck?

[00:16:02] Dr. Jon Finn:
So one example would be, so if we think of the current working context, hybrid work, people report they're working longer hours. People feel busier than ever. So I work too late. That's the destructive habit because I work too late, I eat too late. Because I eat too late I'm very hungry so I eat too much. Cause I eat too much, I don't sleep very well. Cause I don't sleep very well, I feel groggy and unproductive the next day. And now I start to gain weight. The next day I finish work even later and you see how very quickly it spirals.

[00:16:38] Kathi Burns:
That's interesting. What are some ideas of ways to jumpstart for people who are not runners? What would be other recommendations to start your day with? So I love the running idea. Some people just don't run.

[00:16:48] Dr. Jon Finn:
Yeah. Just walking, just getting out or moving around it, whether it's just for five minutes. So the key is to start with something that's really easy to do. So if you don't do any exercise right now, if you don't go of the house right now, before you start work, giving yourself the goal of going for an hour walk isn't gonna be that sustainable. Just walk around the block to start with. Just build that habit of getting out the door and moving around. So I'm just gonna go out for a five minute walk, but do it with a little bit of intensity. We see people walking the dog and just rambling along. When you start to walk a little bit faster, the benefits really go up. And you'll feel better when you come back. So I'm on a, also on a work station treadmill right now, believe it or not. So I'm still on a treadmill, which you can hear beeping, so I can start to walk now. So you can invest in a workstation treadmill if you wanted. If you're that way inclined, or you can just go walk outside.

[00:17:48] Kathi Burns:
Yeah, I heard that. Five minutes of sun in the morning, that soon as you wake up, if you can be outside for five minutes and just get some sun on your face, that'll reset your brain as well. And I love the walking. My mother always used to say, If you're gonna walk, make it count. And she would always walk very fast. She was off like a clip.

[00:18:06] Dr. Jon Finn:
Yeah. If you live in a place where you can get the sun, fantastic. But neurobiologically, we are designed to move around. Walk up to 12 miles a day. And that feels far away concept. Now, if you go back a hundred years ago in London, for example, people walked about 10 miles a day on average. We just really gone into this sedentary lifestyle. The pandemics increased that further. So we're not saying you need to walk 12 miles a day. We're just saying whatever your footsteps are now, how can you improve them a little bit and little bit more, you've got, if we've got the tech now that makes it easy to do that.

[00:18:41] Kathi Burns:
Yeah. Do you use a WHOOP? What do you use?

[00:18:45] Dr. Jon Finn:
An iWatch.

[00:18:47] Kathi Burns:
Oh, okay. Okay, great. Yeah, that's easy too. And a lot of people have those. That's great. So if you had to look back in time and you had to tell your 18 year old self probably before the 19 incident happened, if you were gonna tell your 18 year old self something what advice would you give your younger self?

[00:19:06] Dr. Jon Finn:
Yeah, I thought about this question, Kathi. I couldn't think of anything cause I wouldn't wanna skew this space time continuum, you know? I wouldn't wanna mess anything up cause I'm pretty happy where I am. So I think everything that's happened to me is, stacked up to where I am right now. So maybe if I'd had given some advice, might not have, might have knocked me off course. So I'm not sure how to answer that question.

[00:19:30] Kathi Burns:
Oh, that's a good answer actually. And other people have answered the similar thing. I think that, we are where we are we are blessed to be where we are. Because of all the stuff that we've been through for sure. So is there anything that I should have asked you that we haven't discussed here? Something that you really wanna talk about? Definitely everybody needs to check out the book and we'll put the link there. But what have I missed here in this conversation? So you have, I think we could talk for a couple hours.

[00:19:55] Dr. Jon Finn:
Yeah. I think I know people know what habits are or we think we know what they are. We just need to reinforce how fundamental they are for everything that we're doing. So your judgment of me at the start of this podcast wasn't formed by logical, conscious thinking. It's formed by habits. You make a judgment of someone within five seconds, you judge their entire life. That's not a conscious, clever idea. It's habits. How I'm breathing right now is habits. How I'm standing and moving my hands and speak are habits. So habits are driving everything that we do. If you wanna be healthier, you want to be happier, you wanna give yourself the best chance of being at your best. It's about understanding your habits and getting better at building more helpful ones. And once you do that, you can then start to help other people to do that by becoming a chief habit mechanic. The key question to ask me, Kathi, was where do you get the book from? So that sort, Amazon is the best place to get it. It's on all the formats, physical ebook, audiobook, and I read the audio book, which if you like my voice, that's good news. If you don't, that's bad news. But and it's not a book that's got one idea and it repeated 10 times. This is a manual for life. It's a toolkit for success. It's got over 30 habit building tools. Once you learn how to become a habit mechanic, it shows you how to become a chief of mechanic, how to create a high performance culture. I use this book every day, and I wrote it. It took me over 20 years to write. It's a real workbook. It's really well written, so it's simple to understand. It's based on really good science. It's packed full of examples in case studies and stories. So if you want to be healthier or happier, not your best, this is the book for you.

[00:21:39] Kathi Burns:
Fantastic. Everybody make sure to download it. Now, do you have a valuable free resource that you'd like to offer the people to get them initiated into it?

[00:21:47] Dr. Jon Finn:
So I would recommend checking out the Habit Mechanic University app. Which is absolutely free. You can get going straight away with creating our TEA Plan and learning more about our daily, weekly, monthly, how we building tools that we use. So we've got a whole community of people in the app. And then we've got challenges that we run there more sophisticated elements of the app. So yeah go there, check it out, get it on your phone, get it to the front screen on your phone so it's nice and accessible. Just spend two minutes in there, minimal every day, creating your TEA Plan, and it will save you at least one hour every day. So if you wanna save at least one hour every day, over four hours a month and get the app.

[00:22:30] Kathi Burns:
Hey, you're talking my language there. Everybody needs means to create more time. Absolutely. Download the app. I'm gonna do that. That sounds really interesting. And we can access it any time we want. And we just start on our own.

[00:22:43] Dr. Jon Finn:
Yeah, it's all in there. There's people from all over the world using it. So you'll be getting, you'll see someone else at your, in your time zone.

[00:22:51] Kathi Burns:
Oh, perfect. Perfect. Thank you so much. It's been really interesting conversation and I'll sign off unless there's anything else that you would like to add. Everybody makes sure that you check out the book buy the book on Amazon, 20 years worth of research. I think you're gonna learn a few things, maybe just a little, Huh?

[00:23:10] Dr. Jon Finn:
Yeah. So we'll put a link to the habit mechanic.

[00:23:13] Kathi Burns:
Absolutely. Yep. It'll be right, right down below. We're gonna put a link to the app and we'll also put a link to the book and congratulations on making that a bestseller. Jon, I really appreciate and really congratulate you for spending 20 years putting this book together. I know it's gonna be super valuable for everybody.

[00:23:30] Dr. Jon Finn:
Thank you, Kathi. Thank you for having me. And thank you to everyone for listening.

[00:23:34] Kathi Burns:
Absolutely. Take care. We'll sign it off for now and everybody makes sure to download that. And make sure to also download a copy of the Six Steps to Organize Your Amazing Life. So download all your freebies, get 'em while you can, and I'm signing off for now. Thank you, Jon.

Hey, thanks for listening to this podcast. I hope you enjoyed this episode, and if you wanna hear more, feel free to subscribe on the platform of your choice. Also, if you feel so inclined, I would truly appreciate a good rating from you to me. Have a stellar day.

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