How to Improve at Anything

Practice habits. Habits and practice, two things that I find to be very important in life and achieving goals.

Back in the mid 1990’s I studied “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey.  I embraced a number of the concept from that book.

One was you don’t have to do anything, you choose to do things.

You say I have to go to work today.

No what you are saying is I choose to go to work today because if I don’t I may get fired and then no longer be able to afford my house, my car, etc..  What you are doing is placing a higher priority on those things than spending the day just goofing off.

Another concept was placing time between stimulus and response.

There are still and probably always will be occasions in my life where I wish I would have taken a step back and thought a little longer before I reacted.  You know, like waiting thirty more seconds before hitting the send button.

But developing habits is the concept I most embraced from that book, getting rid of the bad habits and nurturing the good ones.

When I want to improve myself, especially my creative skills, I develop habits to further my improvement.  It can sometimes almost get to the point of being obsessed.

When I wanted to improve my spiritual knowledge and relationship with God I started reading The Bible.  I went out and got the English Standard Version for ease of reading.

Then I made a point of reading it from start to finish, Genesis through Revelations, one chapter every day.  Every morning I start my day with a chapter.  It has become a habit.

I have now read The Bible 3 or 4 times and I am reading through it again.  It’s such a habit I can’t imagine getting up and not reading it.

I may go out and get the King James version for the poetry of the writing.

It’s a habit, it’s something I need to do every day and I miss very few days.

I did the same thing with my drums.

When I started playing again one of the first things that I did was actually make practice appointments on my planning calendar.

My kids asked me why I would do that.

I explained, as I had heard from Stephen Covey, the written word had power.

So I wrote it down on my schedule.  If I didn’t practice that day I felt as if I was not completing all of my assigned activities, as if I let myself down.

Even if it was just 20 minutes a day I made a point of going downstairs to my kit and practicing.

Now it’s a habit with a set practice routine.  I am up to an hour a day six or seven days a week depending on the rest of my schedule.

Some days I have to almost force myself to do it.  I may be tired or not feel well but once I get down to my kit and start to loosen up I usually feel better both physically and mentally.

I have to keep an eye on the time.  Not to make sure I practice long enough, but to make sure I’m not spending too much time at my kit and neglecting other parts of my life.  Balance is important.

Next I need to work on some habits like better dietary habits, better exercise habits which leads into better time management habits.

Writing these posts are a habit I have developed over the past year.

If you want to improve at something or reach a goal figure out what you need to do to get there and then develop the right habits.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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