HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired
There’s a vast chasm that separates science from practice. It’s a gap I learned to bridge when I acknowledged that the most important part of the human performance equation is not the performance, but the human. And while humans are complicated, our needs are often simple. Fortunately, early in my career my friend Lori Ventura taught me a technique that she used to manage her kids, that I used to care for the athletes I worked with. It's also a common framework used to treat substance abuse. Essentially, when things got hard, I would check in with them and ask them to H.A.L.T. Then, we would figure out if they were hungry, angry, lonely or tired. In most cases, disaster could be quelled or averted by just making sure we tended to those very simple human needs. It’s from there that performance follows.
- Allen Lim, Skratch Founder
Hungry - Food is part of what some might describe as part of a system or priority of needs. At the bottom of those systems are our basic physiological needs, which include our primal urge to satiate hunger and thirst, followed by our need for safety and security. Without the foundation of food, shelter, and belonging, it's difficult to realize any of our higher personal goals in sport, work, and life. Thus it is as important to mind what we eat as it is to eat in a way that fosters intimacy and connection with one another and our planet.
Angry - Take a moment to stop, eat, drink, cool off and consider talking it out. Sometimes, no matter how much we've prepared, no matter how calculated our preparations, our efforts don't yield the result we want. We get knocked down. Avoiding this, never risking the setback, means the reward will never come. But remember the other side of the coin as well - our happiness does not revolve around our success. Our success revolves around our happiness.
Lonely - Find the closest litter of puppies and spoon that cuteness hard. Or better yet, call a friend and share a meal together. Prioritize the number of hugs we give each day rather than the number of emails we reply to. Grab a bite with someone you haven’t seen in a while and say thanks for something they did for you in the past. Like thirst or hunger, loneliness is something that we can’t ignore or be ashamed of.
Tired - Rest. In the sports world, there is always talk about recovery… but what should you really be doing during recovery? Manual/physical modes of recovery like stretching, massage, rolling out, cool-down exercises, and saunas may be common, but don’t forget to also refuel, rebuild, rehydrate and rest. Getting more sleep is one of the most impactful and easiest ways to improve performance.
About 90% of the time, HALT takes care of most issues. It’s not rocket science. It doesn’t require a PhD. But, it is one of the most valuable lessons you can use in sport and life.
- Dr. Allen Lim, Skratch Co-Founder.
Art: Yappy Art