The best athletes are the ones that make the right decisions repeatedly, day after day.
They don’t think about their behaviours. They barely even consider other choices that might be more tempting or rewarding in the short term. They make smart choices on autopilot.
Believe it or not, we’re all cruising along on autopilot most of the time.
A study from Drake University in 2006 showed that 40% of our actions every day are not conscious decisions, but habits.
The worrying part of this revelation is that we could, and likely do, already have multiple habits that cause us to perform actions we don’t want to without even realising those habits are in place.
But the good news is that new habits are easily formed when you are aware of how they work. So with a little bit of persistence, you can form habits that can be repeated over long periods of time to help you improve.
Understanding The Habit Process
To use habits to get you to your goals, you need to understand what they are.
Humans create habits as a way of saving effort. Our brains take up a large amount of energy, which is why you feel so exhausted after long cognitive tasks even if you haven’t done any physical activity.
These habits, or shortcuts, are formed through a three-step process.
The cue that tells your brain to turn on autopilot and which habit to use, the routine that can be either physical or mental, and the reward that tells the brain the habit loop is worth saving.
Looking at this process, it’s easy to see how negative habits can form very easily if there is a reward for the brain.
It’s also easy to see how we can form positive habits by following the process, and there are loads of resources available about how to do this in all sorts of areas.
Become A Better Athlete By Forming New Habits
With the knowledge that 40% of our actions are habits, it’s easy to see how you can make better decisions consistently if you introduce autopilots that will make you better in the long run.
By following the simple three-step process, you can become more consistent with your training, recovery and nutrition.