Daily Dose of Coach #237: Free Will and Habits

“It may be more useful to see free will not as a means of gritting your teeth and forcing yourself to do something, but as a tool to make an intelligent, informed effort to change your habits." Dr. Bob Rotella

"Let's suppose you're a person who wants to be fit. You have a time consuming job and a family that needs you attention. The only time you have each day for a workout is between 8:30 and 10:00 in the evening.

There's no shortage of workout opportunities available to you at that hour.

You pay dues to a health club a few blocks away from your home. It's got a gym and a pool.

You're neighborhood has a park with a good jogging trail. You could get out every night for a workout that over time allow you to achieve your goal.

But habits get in your way.

When you get home from work, you like to have a cocktail, it helps you unwind.

Then there's a glass of wine at dinner. You like ice cream for dessert and you generally have it.

So by the time you finish your meal you feel heavy, full and a little inebriated.

You leave the table and pass by the easy chair in front of the big screen TV you bought a few years ago.

You habitually decide to check what's on. Thinking you might spend a few minutes watching a program you see a commercial for popcorn or pizza and get a little craving.

Pretty soon you're snacking in front of the television. Time goes by and the opportunity for a workout is gone. You've got to go to sleep if you're going to be able to rise in time for work.

And so it goes...habit has defeated your intentions to be fitter and your commitment to a daily workout. Indeed you've also become a little less fit due to the alcohol, ice cream and the snack."

This passage from "How Champions Think" shows how having no intentions is just as much of a habit as having intentions. It leads us to whatever is easy and comfortable, thinking we'll just start tomorrow.

Exceptional people have habits that help them achieve their goals. People that struggle have habits that keep them right where they are. It's a choice.