"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." — Aristotle
We often talk about building routines and habits into our life in order to succeed or progress. This is because repeated practice has proven time and time again to be the reigning champ of skill and or knowledge refinement and subsequent development aka GAINS.
So here it is folks, THE MOST SOUGHT AFTER SECRET IN THE GAME…. THE SECRET TO GAINS IS ….
BUILD GOOD HABITS.
Implementing new habits into an already busy routine can appear to be a daunting task. However we have the key to unlocking your potential. It’s called Habit Bunching. Using this simple behavioural science technique, we can influence change almost unconsciously by pairing the new tasks with pre-existing habits and behaviours. Two Birds, One stone. I won’t take up your time with the science of it all, but trust me, THIS WORKS.
For example, take a normal everyday activity, let’s say your morning coffee. Now, let’s say you’ve recently decided to take up reading more for work or simply because you want to broaden those horizons and pick up a new good habit.
Put the two together, place your book by the kettle, whilst it boils, read a few pages, whilst you drink your coffee read a few more, then return your book to next to the kettle. In the short term, every time you go to the kettle, you’ll be reminded to read more and in time, the more you repeat this process the more autonomous it becomes and HUZZAH, we’ve successfully implemented a new good habit.
This of course is a very simple analogy, but effective in the point to be made. Now I’m not saying you need to hang a skipping rope on your fridge door and task yourself with 30 double/ 60 single unders every time you open it…. Although, not a bad idea…. What I’m saying is that the same principle can be adhered to when looking to increase our daily activity levels in simple yet effective ways.
For example, let’s say you’re already a bit of a bookworm, maybe too familiar with cosying up to a good book. Gently pacing around the room whilst you’re six chapters deep into re-reading J.R.R Tolkien’s finest work (The Lord of the Rings - if you’re not a fan, I don’t want to know you), before you know it, after half an hour’s light reading and gentle pacing you’ve racked up 2500-3000 steps. That’s nearly a third of the recommended daily target!
There are many ways you can implement habit bunching and it can be used for far more complex scenarios. It will take a bit of initial planning but once you’ve hacked it, you’ll soon find that by mere repetition your new task becomes a force of habit, and a good one at that! Now go my fellow Marchonites, start storing your snacks at the far end of an obstacle course littered garden…. You catch my drift?