Creatures of Habit Part II

Creatures of Habit Part II

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Benjamin Disraeli

Benjamin Disraeli

Habits determine if you are in the penthouse or the outhouse!

Realizing this becomes a great responsibility, the blame game is over—as Benjamin Disraeli says, “Men are not the creatures of circumstance; circumstances are the creatures of men.”

All too often I hear football coaches at the high school level (particularly losing programs) talk about their chances of success solely based on their current crop of talent.

These coaches are simply setting up a cushion for losing and blaming circumstances.

If they believe this is true, why in the hell watch film?  Put in long hours? Scout?  Even practice?

Others coaches, like Art Briles, will go in and turn a program around at any level in a year flat.

What’s the difference?

One group is in the habit of being a victim and the other is in the habit of being a victor.

Application 
Jack Nicklaus is considered by pundits to be the greatest golfer of all-time.

Nicklaus never dominated his contemporaries the way Tiger Woods did, BUT the “Golden Bear” was the most consistent golfer of all-time.  Jack won the most majors with 18 wins and even finished runner-up 19 times.

Plain and simple, Nicklaus was habitually excellent.

Once, in a critical major, a psychologist timed the time it took Jack Nickolaus to pull his club out of the bag and hit the ball.  Astonishingly, from the first green to the eighteenth hole the time never varied more than a second.   Jack Nickolaus, like every other human being, was a creature of habit.

Great free throw shooters make every shot look the same; the best powerlifter of all-time, Ed Coan, made every squat look the same.  Knowing you are creature of habit can work as a synergetic force in your pursuit of excellence.

Let’s take a look at six steps on how to build and reinforce good habits.

Habitual Excellence
1)    Set yourself up for  success
This comes down to how you spend your time and the company you keep.  Have a habit of eating junk food and want to lose weight—keep healthy snacks with you.    Want to quit drinking?   Don’t go to the local tavern for the happy hour networking event.  Crunched for time but you want to start going to the gym?  Join a gym close by.

Spend your time and keep company that is conducive to setting up your success!

2)    Enhancement not Deprivation
Want to break the habit of playing video games three hours a day?  Don’t think in terms of giving up video games, think in terms about what you will want to do with the additional three hours, spending time with your kids, volunteering for a good cause, pursuing your passion or whatever can all be enhanced with 21 hours a week extra.  Time is a precious commodity.

Don’t think in terms of giving up junk food, think terms of getting to eat healthy so you feel better and envision the new aesthetically-pleasing physique you are in the process of constructing.

It comes down to this: think about how the steps you are taking enhance your life, not how they “deprive it.”

3)    Make a Public Declaration
Want to achieve a certain goal?  Declare it publicly.  When you tell others about your goals you are accountable to yourself and others.

Want to lose weight?  Tell your friends online and start posting progress pictures every couple weeks.

Recently, I decided to drop body fat. At a seminar I did with Charles Poliquin, I took off my shirt and stood in front of the audience and declared I was going to drop body fat.  Additionally, I posted about it on Facebook, EliteFTS and Twitter.

This strategy works very well for people that do not spill their guts online; it is not so powerful for those that do.

If you continually declare goals publicly and do not achieve them, do this:

Tell no one about your goal but write it out a dozen times. Upon waking, say it out loud a dozen times then do the same thing before retiring for the night.

4)    Success Partner
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.”(Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

The power of two is an amazing thing. Have you ever noticed how much more you can accomplish when you have a success partner?

For your fitness goals, this might be a personal trainer or a workout partner.  This could be someone you do weekly calls to strategize with; bottom line is two are better than one.

5)    Competition
Competition holds you accountable!

Want to get strong?  Sign up for a powerlifting meet. Want to get lean?  Do a transformation     contest or some sort of physique competition.  Become a better writer?  Write a book or enter in an essay writing contest.

I say this with caution; ultimately your competition is yourself.

As powerlifting God Father, Ernie Frantz, has talked about in powerlifting, by continually setting personal records eventually those become local records, then state records, then national records and finally all-time world records.

6)    Celebrate Success
All work and no play is a quick recipe to a back sliding disaster!

Celebrate your success—weekly, monthly, yearly.  This could be treating yourself on a small level by buying your favorite tune on iTunes, on a medium level by booking a reservation at your favorite restaurant and on a large level booking a vacation.

Acknowledge your success and celebrate it!

Final Thoughts
Building and reinforcing good habits is the gateway to success.  Keep in mind, Rome was not built in a day and this will not be easy.  Research shows for new habits to become automatic habits, it can take from 21 to 66 days.  Be patient and stay strong!

Keeping following the rainbow, you will enjoy the pot of gold.

To learn about more about developing a successful mindset click here for Jailhouse Strong.

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