Good or Bad - You Get Better at What You Practice
Updated: Apr 16, 2021
We've all heard 'practice makes perfect'. I don't even like this saying because perfection just isn't ever the goal. You get the point though. When we practice things, we typically improve and get better at them. Likely, you've heard this phrase spoken over you when you've challenged yourself to something you actually want to improve. Exercise, healthy eating, a new hobby, a new system at work, communicating better . . . those kind of things. What happens when we take this same idea and apply it to the things we are doing that we don't want to get better at? What if we keep practicing the things we don't want to be more consistent with or dependent upon?
We get better at what we practice. Good or Bad.
This is such a powerful concept for us to spend some good, reflective time on. H A B I T S. Here are some things you may be an expert on simply because you've been practicing them a lot:
1) Listening to respond, not understand.
2) Starting your day fueled by social media and email recaps.
3) Ending your day with mindless scrolling on your phone.
4) Eating quickly to get to the next task.
5) Multitasking and diverting your focus in many different directions.
6) Crunch time project completion.
7) Skipping the exercise session to get more done.
8) Cleaning up after everyone, constantly.
9) Snappy responses to those you love.
10) Not communicating expectations.
I may or may not have listed some of my top 10 (insert wide eyes)....but here's the deal - I'm sure you share in the gut check. When we practice waking up and immediately jumping on our phone, we don't get better at waking up and being fully present with intentionality. We just keep getting better at needing our phones to wake up - teaching ourselves that in order to really wake up we need our phones and instant connection. When we wait until the last minute on every project, we just get better at ignoring things until they nearly blow up on us or we miss the deadline. I'm sure the point isn't lost on you. It can feel overwhelming to know what to do with this though. That's okay. Start simple.
Make a list on the habits in which you want to improve or quit doing. Maybe you start with the list above and add some of your own. Now, tackle them all at once. Turn your life upside down. It's a new day and you're a new you! I kid, I kid. Just pick one. Pick one thing you're going to be intentional about for the next 10 days. If you're wanting to avoid mindless scrolling, set do not disturb hours on your phone (mine are 10 p - 7 a) and plug your phone up across the room. And so help me if you're about to say "But I use my phone as an alarm!" (Walmart sells alarm clocks for $10, your peace is worth this). My point is this: CAUSE A DISTURBANCE.
Disturb that habit so you're reminded when you're doing it. Place your phone across the room or inside a drawer - you'll think about it before you get up and go for it. You'll think about starting your day with reading, prayer or meditation instead of social media. You'll be reminded to make a different choice and start practicing the thing you want to get better at: intentionality. What about eating fast and in a rush? Make a plate. Sit down at the table. Set a timer for 15 minutes. This is radical, but after each meal set the table for the next meal. Pull out your plate, napkin and utensils. Set that up. That'll remind you, promise.
With all of these things, don't you dare do this alone. Find a friend. Engage with your spouse. Talk about the things you're practicing that you don't love getting better at. Invite them in on where you want to start making changes. Your people can be your cues. Only people you love and trust, okay?
Go forth, do the worth. Simplify the process, start with 1 thing and focus on it for 10 straight days. Jot down your takeaways and either try it again for 10 more days or add in an additional practice area. Start disturbing the habits that aren't creating the best version of you. Let's bring out your best (find your top strengths here).