2016 - Post 10: Breaking Bad Habits Part 2 of 3

Following up on where I left off last week, breaking habits is a choice.  The only way that a habit is going to change is if the person with the habit (you) truly want it to change.  I said that I would talk about some of the most effective ways of breaking bad habits.  My experience shows that the best way to start with breaking habits, especially in sports, is to follow a routine.  Yes, to create a routine which will create a new habit.

  • Identify
  • Analyze
  • Research
  • Plan
  • Record

Before we are to do anything else, we must first identify what the habit is that we would like to change.  Do we notice that we stand up when the ball is in the middle of a rally, rather than staying down in defense?  Is it a bad habit that we say nothing as the ball is in play?  Would we like to stop shutting our eyes as a ball is being hit by an opponent?  If your bad habit is not something that is being pointed out to you by another person, then it may be one of those situations when you cannot pinpoint the habit, but you "know" something is wrong.  This is where analysis comes in.  For me, a bad habit that I have dealt with for a long time on the volleyball court is having a negative step with my right foot when I make a crossover blocking move to my right.  In the past, I may have blamed it on having dislocated my left ankle before, or the speed that I am shifting my hips, or the scientifically proven fact that having a false step at the start of a sprint makes athletes run faster... Regardless of whatever reason or excuse I used to choose, the matter still remained that the best blockers in the world didn't have a false step on their crossover and me having one was not pushing me toward being amongst the best blockers in the world.  One could say that this period of realization was my: "Identify".

Once we have identified the habit then we've got to analyze it.  There can be no progress or final solution if we have not acknowledged the habit, lived with the habit, and made sense of the habit.  In sports, this is when things like video review and individual training come as a huge help.  In life, this is when the opinions of others in which you trust and have observed you can be helpful to you.  If we have a bad habit, like a negative step, or not finishing our jump shot on the basketball court, or fading off into space in the middle of a chapter we are reading, then you've got to accept that it's there and not make excuses.  You've got to take responsibility for it and decided that you're the one with it, and likely the one who caused it... that way, you can also be the one to correct it.  Spend as much time as you need looking at the habit, or feeling it, or talking to the people who have observed it.  Get true clarity on when you do it, how often you do it, where you do it, etc.  The faster you can get that done, the faster that you can start to figure out why you do it.  And keep it mind, "Because it's a force of habit," is not a reason.  Once we move onto research, then there will be no returning to your bad habit.  All that lies ahead is hard work.  That is why I say, take as much time as you need to come to terms with your bad habit.

Next Saturday Morning Coffee, I will close up part 3 of "Breaking Bad Habits".  I will be dropping the information and a personal experience of mine that relates to the last three steps of my five step process.  If you have specific cases or habits that you'd like discussed, drop them in the comments section below.  If you "liked" the read, hit the heart button below.  If you want to join the list for email updates or invite a friend, drop your email at the top of the page to the right.  I hope that you come back and hang with me next Saturday.   

Have a blessed week,

Chris Austin