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This Is How The Best Version Of Yourself Becomes A Habit

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Define: habit.

Habit (noun):  a repeated tendency or practice that eventually becomes ingrained into one’s personal routine; hard to give up or stray away from; an acquired behavior that can be positive or negative; something student-athletes need to pay more attention to

In conversation on habits, it may seem rudimentary to have to first explain exactly what they are and why they are so important to your life as a student-athlete. You brush your teeth in the morning because it’s good for you and your gums, and because you have been doing it every day since you can remember. You put your clothes out the night before so you can get dressed quickly in the morning, and you’ve been doing it since middle school, it’s the last thing you do before bed. You have a cup of coffee with your breakfast (and lunch, and maybe one more after lunch) every day because it’s something you have always done and now you need caffeine to make it through the day.

These little acts come to you so naturally and you keep doing these things because it’s what you have always done. They are all examples of good habits. You do them every single day. You don’t even think about them at this point, because they subliminally structure your life, like clockwork. Personal habits we take on become so deep-rooted into our routines that missing that one cup of coffee, for example, has the ability to throw your whole day off. Forgetting to pick out your outfit at night can add unscheduled time in the morning and disrupt your entire commute.

It’s a funny phenomenon that the little, seemingly mindless habits that we have, well, the habit of doing every single day, are the things that structure and make up our routines. And, in a very real way, they also make up our character.

Enter: Aristotle

The great ancient Greek philosopher is crucial to our understanding of habits because in his Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle bridges the gap between our habits and our character. In an attempt to summarize a complex body of work, Aristotle sees the progression of one’s character as a linear roadmap that begins with the choice to act out a specific action, more than once, until it eventually becomes a habit. For example, if you want to become a kinder person, you could consistently say “please” and “thank you,” and you could consistently show compassion towards your friends until your benevolence becomes part of you. So… why is this so important? Because actions speak louder than words; the actions or habits you do consistently essentially become who you are.

Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. - Aristotle

Actions speak louder than words; the actions or habits you do consistently essentially become who you are.

Enter: The Student-Athlete

As a student-athlete, it is not enough that you were the star player in that one game. It is not enough that you did well on an erg test last week. To be the best player (and more importantly teammate) you can be, requires constant hard work and checking in with yourself habitually to make sure your character is in line with who you want to be for your teammates. Making a habit out of putting in one extra workout sometime in the week until it eventually becomes second nature to you makes you a better athlete. Making a habit out of checking in with your teammates who are always nervous before a big game makes you a better friend. Making a habit out of meeting with professors as soon as you don’t understand a topic instead of letting it accumulate into a bigger problem makes you a better student.

Excellence is a habit. No one becomes the best on the court, field, or water overnight.

Excellence is a habit. No one becomes the best on the court, field, or water overnight. Being the best version of yourself starts with making the little things that make you that much better something that comes naturally to you. So start getting into the habit of getting into habits… every single day.


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