According to James Clear, author of the book Atomic Habits, building a positive system of habits can lead us to goal success in any area of life- they are the compound of self-improvement.
BUT WHAT ARE HABITS?
The dictionary definition of a habit refers to a ‘settled or regular tendency or practice that is hard to give up’; a routine of behavior performed subconsciously.
Whilst habits and routines are similar, a habit tends to relate to a deeper-rooted, more subconscious, pattern of behavior stemming from sustained routine.
If habits are patterns of long-term routine and behavior, it makes sense then, that positive habits in sport are crucial for long-term success.
We’re here to explain why!
5 REASONS WHY GOOD HABITS ARE IMPORTANT IN SPORT
- GOOD HABITS PROVIDE STRUCTURE
Whether you’re new to exercise, a seasoned athlete, or sitting somewhere in-between, we can all be guilty of jumping feet first into training without a clear understanding of the end goal.
This lack of direction can often lead to boredom, burnout, and (inevitably) falling short of results.
Adopting positive routines of behavior for your chosen sport can lead to good habits over time, which, in turn, creates a much-needed structure within a training regime and periodized training plan.
- GOOD HABITS SUSTAIN MOTIVATION
We can argue that motivation breeds habit, but habits can also keep motivation in check.
Getting up and getting it done can be hard work, especially when we feel tired and uninspired.
According to Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College London, it takes 66 days to build a habit.
Once a habit forms, behavior becomes subconscious and routine becomes second nature.
This is when motivation can begin to soar.
- GOOD HABITS BREED CONSISTENCY
Consistency is the key to success.
The more structured and consistent we are within our chosen sport, the more improvement and success we will see over time.
Consistency involves making incremental improvements that breed long-term success; instilling good habits early is a sure-fire way to encourage consistency- and vice versa!
- GOOD HABITS MEAN PROGRESSION
With a consistent and structured approach to training, progression is sure to follow!
Instilling the work ethic to train hard and consistently means we begin to see our efforts paying off both physically and mentally.
Good habits encourage good behavior that amounts to successful outcomes!
- HABITS REMOVE BARRIERS
When we form a habit, we remove any excuse for barriers; this means training is prioritized and remains consistent.
Athletes on a vigorous training plan are very unlikely to drop their nutrition plan, miss training, or skip out on competing opportunities.
Regardless of temptation, training takes priority.
3 WAYS TO BUILD HABITS IN SPORT
Success is unique to every individual, but regardless of your goal, we have 3 quick tips for building good habits in sport.
- FIND YOUR ‘WHY’
Understanding why you exercise can help you navigate motivation.
If your goals aren’t aligned with what you want to achieve, habits won’t be formed.
Whether it’s for competition, mental health, or aesthetic goals- explore (and give weight to) your motivations.
- SET GOALS
Goalsetting is a powerful tool for paving the path to our personal version of success.
Having a clear direction for goals can provide motivation and structure, but most importantly, commitment and discipline- habits!
- INVEST YOUR TIME
Giving time to training, nutrition, rest, and competition prep gives weight to your decision-making and behavior.
Invest adequate time in your sport and prioritize it where possible- don’t give in to excuses and your sport will become the habit you can’t shake!