“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” -Aristotle
At first making time to do your Daily Guitar Ritual is a conscious process. At the same time there’s conflict because you have other things you want to do. Because of both these issues it feels like work to get yourself to do it. This is natural and everyone experiences this.
When you first get started it also feels like it will always be like this… Kind of a “battle of willpower”. Studies have shown that constantly using “willpower” to do something you know will be beneficial is somewhat of a losing battle. The main problem is willpower can be depleted. When you use willpower throughout the day it becomes harder and harder as the day goes on.
The second problem is that it’s natural for willpower to wane when you feel tired. Combine both these things together and it’s no wonder many people complain they cannot get themselves to practice regularly. They are swimming upstream. One of the strategies that I’ve found helpful is to unleash the power of habit*.
Think about when you get up in the morning and you go to brush your teeth. Does it take a lot of effort? For most people the answer is “no”… it doesn’t take a lot of effort or thinking to get to the bathroom, work the toothpaste on the brush, raise it to the mouth and brush. It’s kind of on automatic pilot. Most don’t think twice about brushing their teeth in the morning because it’s a habit. It fact you would feel weird if you didn’t do it.
Develop the habit of doing your guitar ritual. At first, it’s an effort but over time it actually gets weird if you don’t do it (that’s a good thing).
So how do you develop this habit? There’s a little bit of the chicken and egg problem. To develop a habit takes spaced repetition… doing it over and over without letting too much time elapsed between sessions. In this case too much time would be more than one day.
At the same time it is more difficult to get yourself to do it with the amount of effort involved and “Life” getting in the way.
I’ve mentioned several tips that will help you get started including making it easy to practice by setting up your space and getting support from those you live with.
Now I want to give you two powerful techniques that I’ve used many times over the years to develop useful habits that continue to serve me today.