Name a person that is now a guru and an expert in his or her field. It was not because of luck, nor of fate. It’s a product of their constant training, learning, dedication, and hard work. One cannot be an expert overnight.
The more you do a thing repeatedly, it becomes a habit, and it would come to the point that you will be doing it without thinking hard about the process as the task seems innate. When you cook every day and repeatedly cooking the same dish several times, you will indeed perfect its taste even without measuring its ingredients anymore.
So, whatever it is that you are thinking of doing, whether it is learning to play the piano, learning a new sport, dancing ballet, painting, and learning a new craft, the habit of practicing plays a crucial and central role in honing your skills.
Let’s find out how we can develop and be on track in having a habit of practicing more.
As an adage goes, practice makes perfect. This may sound simple but profound; the concept of incremental progress is at work when you acknowledge the central role of practicing. Think about it. If you do daily weight-lifting exercise, your muscles will grow stronger and even bigger. If you save a portion of your weekly or monthly salary, you will have a big amount of money after 2 years or so. If you write a page each day, you will have a thick book at least 365 pages in a year when you compile them. Imagine what practice can do?
HOW TO START THE HABIT OF PRACTICING MORE
Define and Set your Goal
Do you want to be an expert in playing Ping Pong in a week’s time? Or to be an excellent basketball player in 2 months’ time? You need to define your goals clearly because it will also be easier for you to set a schedule when practicing, the frequency, and the length of practice you will have to set. With whatever you do, goal setting is always a key to achieving something.
Set a regular practice time and strictly follow it
If you have noted that practice is every day at 7 pm, it must be 7 pm. Strictly follow your schedule, but whenever something essential and urgent pops up, you can attend to it but be sure to have a make-up time to the time you miss practicing.
Do not skip practice because you just feel lazy, not unless you are sick. Once you have started cutting, you will be tempted to do it again until you break that habit of practicing. Commitment and discipline are important principles here. At some point, it will feel stranger not to practice than to practice.
Make practice fun and stress-free
Once you are enjoying your practice time, it will be less burdensome for you to spend a few minutes or an hour doing it. Evaluate your practice routine and see what causes your struggle or the lack of motivation. As much as possible, designate a private area where you can practice without interruption and distractions. Sometimes even a little distraction can be a source of inconvenience and maybe an excuse to skip practice.
Think in terms of weeks, not days. When you have a long-term goal, try counting the weeks left before completion because when you can’t through days, it will give you the impression that you will be spending more time to finish your goal.
Divide a longer goal into milestones. For example, you are giving yourself a one year target to reach a certain result, and it might seem a long time to accomplish it, so try dividing your goal into milestones so you won’t be easily worn out and lose the drive to finish the goal.
After achieving a milestone, you can reward yourself for fueling you more in continuing to another level. Rewards may be in whatever form, such as giving yourself a break, a cheat day, and a breather. Besides the reward (getting better) that you automatically get when you continually practice, you are motivated to treat yourself for being on track and for keeping the discipline.
Don’t beat yourself up. Training and practice are meant to make you better and achieve better and not punish yourself. It is a form of exercise towards improving a skill, a habit, or a talent. You may experience some falling short and not hitting a perfect mark but don’t be too hard on yourself. Don’t overdo practice that would make you feel sick and feel bad because it will be a reason for you to avoid doing something.