A lesson in building habits

 •  Filed under Productivity, Posts

It's that time of year where people are starting to tail off on their new year resolutions. Let's face it, for most of us new year resolutions are nothing more than pipe dream. I don't do new year resolutions but what I do believe in are habits.

Habits are easier to build than new year resolutions and once they're part of your routine, you'll find that don't need to spend as much time building that habit again if you break it. This also makes your goals (or resolutions) much more achievable.

Ethan's golf has been progressing nicely over the past year. He's comfortable with his new clubs, he's familiar with his local course and he's getting to know more and more people through different levels of coaching and playing. His handicap didn't fall much last year, but he's adamant that this year it will come down and he's set himself the target of being at a handicap of 20 or less by the end of this year.

Rather than getting him to focus on the long term goal of reducing his handicap though I started him on something more manageable.

Building the habit of practicing every day for 20 minutes.

It doesn't matter what part of his game he practices on, it could be his swing, chipping, putting or playing out on the course.

He started off well. He needed reminders to practice in the first week, but he managed to get there. After a couple of weeks, his calendar now looks like this:

16 days of daily practice and all without a break in the chain.

I don't need to remind him to practice anymore. He just does it. He takes a look at his calendar and puts in the practice so that he can keep put the next 'X' in and keep the chain going.

The habit is now part of his daily routine but Ethan is still a long way away from that goal. Once the golf season starts in earnest he should see better scores on his scored cards and start to see that handicap fall.