Mindset Made Simple Tip #158 – Watch or listen HERE.
I am a statistic. I was on a roll, but I blew it like most Americans do.
My New Year’s resolution took me from January 1st until July 12. I beat about two-thirds of the population, but I did not make the elite 9% who keep their resolutions all year long.
Why are good habits so hard to keep and bad ones so hard to break?
With the start of a new academic year upon us, it’s time to start thinking about how our routines and habits measure up and how we can influence those around us to do what is best for their performance.
What can we do to help those we lead create and keep good habits and overcome bad ones? Impossible, you say? Read on…😊!
We know that routines are important…they help keep us present, they help us dial in and they set us up to take action.
As Aristotle said, “we are what we repeatedly do.” We do routines. We do habits. If they are good. We are good. If not…well, then!
Habits make us more consistent…for better or worse.
Consistency leads to excellence (consistent good, that is). And that is our goal, of course! Excellent thought, emotion and action!
I think of myself as a relatively disciplined person. I have pretty consistent routines and relatively healthy and productive habits. (Notice the qualifying statements there…I am not willing to shout my consistency from the mountain tops!) And like all of us, some are a constant battle of course…like staying out of the snack pantry during the day!!
One bad habit I have is stopping into the snack pantry WAY TOO OFTEN during the day.
Interestingly enough, my propensity to snack went away during our recent trip to Germany!
How did I do it? How did I manage to make it through two weeks without constantly having pretzels or animal crackers (don’t judge me 😊) in my pocket as I shove them full every time I walk through the kitchen at home?
How? Because they weren’t available to me. And I didn't fall faint from starvation. Amazing!
Although leaving this unhealthy habit behind was a success, my New Year’s resolution bit the dust with full force at the same time.
From January 1 through July 12, I drank big glass of water every morning to fire up my brain and hydrate my body. Getting water in Germany was like getting water from a rock (you pay for tap water at restaurants making it cheaper to drink beer and soda…not good!). But this was no excuse. There was running water in my brother-in-law’s condo, so a glass of water was available every morning. I just didn’t drink one.
Why? Because I didn’t set myself up for success by having a glass ready and waiting like I do at home each morning. Resolution broken!
What didn’t fall by the wayside was my morning workouts. I stuck to those.
Crazy. Am I a creature of habit or not? Some things remain. Some things disappear into thin air!
The point? Our routines and habits are easily disrupted and, according to research, are just as easily enhanced if we set ourselves up for success!
The question as we head into a new school year is, how can we encourage those we lead to build productive routines and build good habits? How can we get them to do extra work? To study and prep for class and tests? To do the things that will make their experience a success?
If my experience proves anything, it is that our environment matters.
By nature, we don’t do things that take extra work…even those of us who identify as disciplined?
What do you need to do in your environment to make it easy for those you lead to do what they need to do…or what you are encouraging them to do to get better?
Do you need to make it easier to access equipment, quiet study spaces, healthy snacks, etc.?
As Shawn Achor says in The Happiness Advantage, we need to employ the 20-Second Rule to make it easier…or harder to make or break our habits!
Make something 20 seconds easier, just 20 seconds, allowing people to break down simple barriers that keep them from taking action and a positive habit is more likely.
Conversely, make something 20 seconds harder to do and you are less likely to do it.
No available snack = no snacking. Just like in Germany.
Do you have fruit available on your counter? Research shows you will weigh 20 pounds less than your neighbor who has cereals or other snack foods in sight.
On our recent trip, I slept in a room that had a bike and weights in it. I added my other workout gear to the space and took the friction out of the experience.
Wake up with all my gear within reach and work out before anyone else was stirring! If I had only added a glass of water to the mix, I may have made the 9% threshold!
Our environment plays a HUGE role in our routines and habits.
If you want your players to do more work. Make it easier. I always envied the programs that had a hitting facility that allowed equipment to be walk-in ready instead of players setting up the equipment themselves to hit a few balls. It just happens less…because that’s how we all operate!
If you want them to make better nutritional choices. Make it easier…or harder…depending on what is around.
Our environment matters. Our willpower is limited so we need to set ourselves and those we lead up for success. We can’t depend on our intentions.
Being consistent takes work. Our willpower often fails us! If we want to be our best selves, we need to plan and make things easier…or harder, depending on which way we want to go!
Ultimately, it comes down to choices. Do we choose to make our environment peak-performance-friendly or do we leave it to our unreliable willpower or chance?
Just because we do something in one place doesn’t mean we will do it in another…good and bad. To be our best, we need to help ourselves and those we lead. How can we make the things we want to do easier and the things we don’t want to do harder?
It’s simple…but not always easy. But the dividends are well worth the 20 seconds it takes to make a difference!
Manage your environment…and the moments!
P.S. It’s time to get your mental game plan in order. Let me help you build one that works for your team. Shoot me an email at email@example.com and let’s get started before 2023-24 program pricing increase begin!
Mental Performance Coach
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