Routines, rituals and roles – the perfect month beckons

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I have prided myself on being Mr ‘Ad-lib’. You know, the guy that can’t be nailed down in to a routine because routine is boring. I guess this is why I started my own business. The unknown had great appeal and of course I was probably a pretty bad employee, as I always knew better!  But I have started to look at things a little differently over the past few years and/or perhaps I am just growing up.

As a young kid trying to be a professional tennis player I knew the value of rituals to performance. I used to watch Jimmy Connors  bounce the ball 21 times every time before he served and John McEnroe make sure he never walked on the lines when changing ends. I was playing a match one time against another kid I had never beaten and I got in to this habit of scraping the grip of my racquet on the net every time I went past the net post. I won the match and the habit stuck because I associated something kind of crazy with winning. And, if something works I am not going to question it too much.  Of course this behaviour is basically superstitious but the power of relying on something repeatable and predictable gives a great sense of  security in a pretty insecure situation. This ritual thing is part of most professional performer’s repertoire the world over because it is kind of a high powered version of a routine which of course is critical to becoming good at what they do in the first place.

The bottom line in the end is that rituals and routine works because they create ‘consistency’, which is absolutely necessary for progress. Obviously the routines need to be good ones for the results to be good. But when it comes to fitness, a bad routine is usually better than no routine. The fitness gig can be hard especially in Winter. You don’t want to have to think too hard about it, especially when too much deliberation will usually undermine all attempts to get out of a warm bed and work up some sweat. When you can get yourself in to a routine, you set yourself on a path of seemingly effortless progress. This is the holy grail of behaviour change in fitness programs. Don’t get me wrong, you have to change things up to keep the body guessing but the routine of working out at the same time each day is going to help you BIG TIME. It becomes, at this point just something you do.

I have decided that maybe I am not the swashbuckling, make-it-up-as-you-go guy anymore. I want to be that guy for sure but I know that success in just about everything  I can think of (sport, business, life!) DEPENDS on getting in to that groove of a routine. For example, I know now that if I don’t pay my staff at the same time each week there are indeed problems! Perhaps that just proves it is all about the roles we play. As a business owner I need to pay my staff regularly, as a new step father I see how important it is  to have routines with a 6 year old.  It is a basic human need to help make sense of the world and is clearly very necessary to create stability.

So long story short, I am in the mental process of shoring up my rituals (morning coffee could perhaps better be changed to green tea), my current routines (strength training 3 days a week instead my random mix up each week) and my role as an exercising leader (kids will always do as you do not as you say) as I head towards the ‘perfect month’. It is indeed wise to plan on a starting day so you have time to prepare for what is ahead. I have a few people interested so far, i.e. wanting to watch what I do and some who have essentially signed up to the challenge for themselves. I will be sharing the systems I use to achieve a solid routine but you will have to opt in to find out more. Remember the perfect month starts July 1.

Fill in the form below to let me know you want to follow this in July (or be part of it, with your own version of ‘perfect’ )  This is nothing less than a behaviour change challenge. So why would I want to do this? Life would be pretty boring with out a challenge I say and besides this, with a wife 12 years younger and a 6 year old who may start to look up to me….. I better stay on my toes! 🙂 What’s your reason for wanting to do it?

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