The power of practice versus the new practice penalty

by Jason on November 18, 2011 · 0 comments

Ritual by Crystl

Regular practice is a powerful thing. Whether it’s daily exercise, meditation, journaling or blogging, or whatever else you might do on a recurring basis, these habits provide framing for the rest of your day and allow you to exercise discipline in small doses.  They are transformational.

And they hurt like hell to implement.

I’m talking pain like frustration, mostly, though if you start an exercise program the pain can be quite real at first (today’s post was inspired by my new running practice. I may not be able to walk tomorrow!)

I’m convinced that the reason most people don’t have more practices in their lives – positive ones, anyway – is that they disrupt far too much of your current routine when you start them.

Take the running one, for example. I went out first thing this morning, and it felt fantastic.  I was pumped.  The endorphins were racing for hours after.  And around noon, I crashed.  Hard.  Trying to nap on the office floor hard.  My body simply wasn’t used to the exertion.  And it cost me a few checkmarks on the day’s todo list.

Even the non-physical routines can cause uncomfortable disruption.  For example, you might not budget your time properly for the rest of the day, so this new commitment you’ve made to, say, meditating causes you to miss making three important sales calls.

Really, it’s no different than any other change in your life or business.  When I hire someone new, I always (always!) forget how much extra work I have to do to train them for the first week or so (leverage notwithstanding.)  A new practice is no different, and for it to survive the first three sessions (let alone the 21 days they say it takes to become a habit,) it’s critical that you recognize and schedule room for the disruption when you get going.

But the rewards of having multiple practices in place, if only the sheer leadership points they confer, oh, that makes it very worth the effort. Just plan accordingly.

Photo by Crystl

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