Establishing Habits

May 4, 2013 at 2:22 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I love playing basketball. Always have, always will. After all these years of playing I still look forward to getting on the court and competing, challenging myself and whichever team I am apart of to be the best that it can be.

At our game last weekend it really hit me that certain habits that I developed over a decade ago are still evident today. These are parts of my game that I have not actively practised for a long time but unconsciously form part of how I play. Over time basketball has moved up and down the priority list, with varying amounts of time being able to be spent on it. With study, living overseas, travel, work and other family/social commitments over the past 10 years, large chunks of the available time that I used to find when I was younger are just not there. The habits that were developed throughout my playing journey are though, guiding the actions that are still taking place.

So as the team sits listening to the coach in a pre game talk or time out, getting instructions on the certain actions or behaviours that are required to have success in the game, the habits that have been formed in each of the players is a vital element to that success. 10 players on the court provides for movement, unpredictability, pressure, along with external and internal distractions, with the established habits providing the players with opportunities to execute the plans to the best of their abilities. You’re never guaranteed of ‘winning’ when you step onto the court, but success is so much more than a score on the board. The habits that have been formed can put each player in a position to take advantage of whatever opportunities are presented to them, on and off the court.

Watching the attached video above this week coincided perfectly with a discussion I have been engaged in lately with the Explore Discover Act team. It relates to us as humans intellectually knowing certain things/information/etc and not actually implementing them into the everyday and experiencing the associated individual or shared benefits. We would have all felt the emotion of finally changing or establishing a certain habit that immediately gave us the thought, “Why did I wait this long to do it?” Whether it was waking up slightly earlier to give yourself more time to read or relax before work, or adding consistent exercise or nutrition to your week and feeling so much more alive, or joining a particular group that builds connection and socialisation opportunities, to any number of examples that we could all list, we are all capable of taking responsibility for our daily thoughts, words and actions.

Why then can we struggle in this area? A great conversation I had last night with a friend centred on this. We were talking about how we as individuals, families, communities and the greater global village are coping with certain challenges. One of the areas that we focused on was the danger of comfort trapping us into not implementing changes. Vulnerability and challenge are a major part of our lives as humans, with many trying to safe guard themselves from both. This involves not fully engaging in many aspects of life to avoid what is anticipated to be an unmanageable emotional toll, that they just can’t take the risk.

When I think about the formation of my basketball habits that I was referring to earlier, one year in particular stands out. It is a year that I stepped out of my comfort zone, playing for another association, I didn’t know them and they didn’t know me. I needed the challenge and to play for a particular coach who I respected highly. The program believed strongly in individual and shared responsibility. Training consisted of ritualised habit building, one that others in the program had already been apart of for a couple of years but was inclusive of newcomers like myself, that tested us physically and emotionally. There were shared standards that were upheld, with individuals being accountable to each other as well as the coach. It remains one of my most powerful learning experiences of my life, along with others that took me out of the comfortable.

“A great deal of talent is lost to the world for the want of a little courage.” – Sydney Smith

I believe we all have the ability to challenge ourselves on a daily basis within the various responsibilities we have. I also believe that many of us don’t fully explore what’s possible because of the courage that is required to take the risk, ask the question, have the conversation or inspire others, like is summed up in the quote above. Pathways to thoughts, words and most importantly actions that establish empowering habits is a journey, one that I know I attempt to walk, achieving successes and experiencing challenges along the way. It involves reflecting on what is maximising and what is limiting the positive difference I can make in my own and others lives, my authentic potential. This process is aided by connection to self, others and the world around us.

“Why not go out on the limb? That’s where the fruit is.” – Mark Twain



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