Fundamental Friday: Creating positive habits

Thank God it’s Fundamental Friday. This weekly article will venture into the fundamental elements of a variety of aspects of our lives and present the questions to us all, “Are we fundamental sound?”

Positive Habits: The fundamental words for this Friday.

We are creating habits every day. Not all habits have a positive effect on our attempts to be successful in obtaining our goals. The word positive is inserted to stress a measure of “good” habits that will aide us in moving towards the prize. The focus of this discussion is on the development of good positive habits.

Habit: an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary.

One of biggest challenges a youth baseball coach faces is attempting to correct a hitter’s batting stance and swing when they have already developed a habit of standing and swinging incorrectly. When an athlete goes a season or two standing and swinging incorrectly, it becomes how the stand and swing. It is a habit that has been developed and the athlete stands and swings in the incorrect manner without thinking about it. It is involuntary from the perspective of the body doing what is comfortable and what it is used to doing.

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In this example, clearly, the athlete has grown accustomed to (or created a habit) that is not in his/her best interest. There is a process for creating good habits that will allow us to stand and swing correctly involuntary. This process acronym is R.E.P.O.H. It is a lengthy process which each letter representing a phase in the process. Similar to any habit (especially good habits), it is over a period of time in which habits are developed.

The “R” is for Repetition phase. Repeating anything is the first step in developing a habit. The key to this process is that repetition is done properly. The stance and swing of a young baseball player should be proper and in line with the coaching and/or teaching the athlete is receiving. The difficulty in repeating anything properly is that it generally feels uncomfortable. We have to be disciplined and intentional about repeating properly in the midst of our uncomfortableness.

In our life’s journey, the hurdle that stands between us and our goals is that element of uncomfortableness. How we deal with and address this area dictates if the habits we are creating through repetition are good habits or not so good habits. We must be intentional about dealing with those the feeling being uncomfortable and persevere through it. The prize that awaits us is always just beyond that hurdle of uncomfortableness.

The “E” is for easy phase. Over time, the actions we do repeatedly and religiously become less and less difficult. As the difficulty lessens, there is an ease that comes naturally. This is not a fake it to you make it approach. It is a very calculated process of repeating a good (yet difficult) actions over an extended period of time until difficulty fades into a point of easiness.

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Initially, the grip that a baseball player must use to hold the bat is uncomfortable and even difficult when the athlete first learn. This grip adds to the difficulty of swinging the bat properly. The term we use as coaches is practice. Practicing properly and repeatedly helps athletes get comfortable with holding and swinging the bat. Eventually, there is not thought in grabbing the bat or swinging it. It becomes so easy that it is a natural act.

As we apply these first two phases of the process to our lives, we can find a sense of ease in doing the things that help us obtain our goals. The key is to understand the proper way and repeating it until we are doing it unconsciously.

The “P” is the pleasure phase. As swinging the bat becomes easy, the athlete becomes to have success with hitting the ball. This comes with a level of pleasure that comes with success. When holding and swinging the bat becomes a pleasure, success is just beyond the horizon. Most athletes identify success and pleasure in the same manner.
Regardless of how difficult things are in life, as we repeat a process until it becomes easy and we get a level success, the aspect of pleasure kicks in. Pleasure is an amount of joy that comes with being comfortable in what a person is doing.

The “O” is the often phase. From swinging a bat to walking through a journey of life. The things we find pleasure in we tend to do often. Something about liking what we do has us doing it often. This includes exercising, walking and many other healthy things we do to maintain our health. Clearly, completing the first three (3) phases lead us to a point in which we want to do it as much as possible.

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As the athlete and we navigate through the first four (4) phases successfully, we will develop a habit that allows us to find a level of success that we desire. It is a point of we will acquire a mode in which our unconscious mind instructs our body to move with a sense of ease. A sense of moving automatically, with little or no thought. Swinging the bat is athletes get older require quick responses and leaves very little room for thinking. Consider that a pitcher is 60 feet and 6 inches from the batter and some pitchers a throwing the ball at the rate of 100 miles per hour. There is literally no time to think and the unconscious mind must kick it.

Similarly, in life, it is those good habits that kick in without thought that allow us to take advantage of situation and opportunities that appear like a vapor and vanish just as quick. Life can in an instant speed up to 100 miles per hour and it is our habits that will dictate if we are able to handle life’s fastball.

The final phase which is really the result of the first four phases is Habit. The habits we create are the results of repeating until it becomes easy. This easiness ushers us into a pleasurable state. We all know that those things we find pleasure in are the things we tend to do often. Let’s create good habits that allow us to be ready for any situation which will lead to being successful in any situation.

Fundamentally, we must realize it is our habits that will determine if we are able to take advantage of opportunities that God places before us. Each day we are blessed to see will definitely be filled with opportunities. The question we must ask ourselves is, “have we developed habits that will allow us to take advantage of every opportunity God presents us?” If you cannot answer yes, then make some time and enter into the R.E.P.O.H to develop those habits that will clearly prepare with good habits that prepare us for being successful in everything we do.

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