Forming New Habits: Ritual/Repeat and Simple/Sustainable
Microchange is more simple and sustainable than macrochange - however, it is often overlooked. Why distinguish between the two, is not all change the same? Yes, and no. A focused athlete who idealizes the accomplishment of competition or setting new personal bests is putting themself through a long-term process of physical change. However, there are smaller, "microchanges" that often go overlooked. These small, sustainable, and impactful rituals could help encourage the larger "macrochange"
Consider these manageable rituals as an integral part of athletic development. What are examples of small, yet impactful practices (or rituals) to consider, and how could one establish sustainable habits around them?
1. Starting each day with a 8-12 oz glass of water. Put an empty glass on the counter before bed as a reminder. Many active persons and athletes alike are under hydrated, therefore it is important to start the hydration process first thing upon waking.
2. Sleeping 6-8 hours each night. Turn off or put away electronic devices at a specified time, 30 minutes to one hour before preparing for sleep. Many active persons and athletes alike are under recovered, therefore it is crucial to optimize sleep. The blue-light emitted by cellphones, television, or computer screens act as a stimulant.
3. Ending a run, ride, or workout in the gym with 5-10 minutes of soft-tissue work. Before heading out the door, place a foam roller, lacrosse ball, or other self-massage tool where it will be easily noticed upon return. Many active persons and athletes alike do not realize that their "workout" is more than hard work. Self-massage is another form of care that supports recovery from demanding physical work - five or ten minutes each day could prove to be very beneficial to fully recovering and being better prepared for the next day's work.
The above three examples of repeatable rituals are both simple and sustainable, and fit into the larger process of supporting long-term change. Do not overlook the small things, and think of these sort of rituals as the glue holding the rest of your longer term goals and well-being together.
Devin Vernick, MS, CSCS, SCCC, USAW- L1, Onnit Academy Steel Mace Specialist | Performance Specialist | c 404.509.2822 | Intel Micron Flash Technologies, 4000 N Flash Drive, Lehi UT 84043