“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.
Here’s the thing about habits: they’re really hard to break. That’s why, in life, it’s really important to build good habits. What is the goal that you have in your life? Do you want to go to the gym more? Do you want to eat healthier? Train more in the Gi? Just train more Jiu-Jitsu overall? It is very easy to say, “Oh, I should really start lifting regularly”, but it is also very easy to then not do it. In this way Jiu-Jitsu is similar to life, it is very important to develop good habits and practice these habits every time we step on the mats.
Merriam-Webster defines habit as “a behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition or physiologic exposure that shows itself in regularity or increased facility of performance.” We all have habits. The trick is making sure our habits are the ones we want and will enable us to achieve our goals.
A first step in developing good habits is to live intentionally. If you want something to be part of your life, then build it into your schedule. Write it down on your calendar. Get a friend to do it with you and hold you accountable. Be strict with yourself until the activity becomes a habit. Don’t do it tomorrow, do it today. You will know it is a habit when each day you do it without even thinking about it!
If you ever find yourself in a position where you’re moving to a new house or a new city, this is an opportune time to start fresh and set new habits from the beginning. In this new place, you don’t have habits yet. You can establish the routine that you want, and then that will become the expectation. I remember I used to always sleep in as late as possible. I would sometimes get up ten minutes before I had to leave for work, and barely have time to get dressed, grab some food, and rush out the door. This hectic start to my day always made me feel “behind” or chasing to catch up to everyone else during the day.
When I moved to California, I decided that I wanted time to wake up and enjoy my coffee in the morning. From the beginning, I started getting up at least an hour before I had to leave for training. I would make coffee and breakfast, play my guitar, and just appreciate that quiet time in the morning. I have really grown to cherish that time to take it slow and collect my thoughts before the day. Now, regardless of when I go to bed, I always set my alarm to give me that time, because that’s part of who I am now. It doesn’t even occur to me to do otherwise. This habit has helped me achieve goals in my life because I am no longer starting my day in a hectic race to get out the door.
I have used this same principle in my Jiu-Jitsu training. Making sure to get to the academy in time to not rush on to the mats before class starts but, giving myself enough time to get ready for the training session at a comfortable pace that allows me to have a calm mind for training. In this way, I feel that I am able to have a more productive training session getting more out of each technique, repetition and sparring round.
Once you have established something as a habit, you will do it even if you are tired or not feeling it that day. Because it’s a habit now. And, if you need to miss a day here or there, it’s not going to break the habit. Because habits are not that easy to break ( we no this because of how hard it is to break a bad habit!)
It’s great to feel motivated sometimes. To feel excited about doing something, that rush of energy driving you forward. Motivation is fleeting, though. It is a feeling. Habit will keep you on course no matter how you feel. I have a lot of days when I’m not motivated to train at all. I’m sore, tired, or maybe I just feel lazy. I still get up, go to the gym, and give it my all. Because that’s what I do. That is my habit. I wouldn’t recognize my life any other way