Are you prone to juggling too many balls and dropping the ones that really matter?
Then just drop all of the good ones because it's not paying off?
It's an analogy that helps a lot of people assess and stay motivated in achieving their vision. The following is written with physical training and nutrition as the focus. The analogy can be related to much more besides.
One of the educational sources of the "one habit" at a time has come from Precision Nutrition*. It has helped inform and shape some of Madmule Fitness methods and coaching knowledge.
When training with young athletes involved in ball sports, I always asked them to demonstrate their ability to juggle. Some will testify that this was quite challenging and definitely had some of them scratching their heads and asking "what's the point?"
It's 2 fold and a double winner.
The first, training the brain and body to coordinate a ball toss, is all part of going that extra mile to improve motor skills, timing, feel, spacial awareness, coordination. For some players, we would advance to saying the alphabet backwards whilst juggling or feeding the ball into a bounce on the floor or wall to progress complexity. Getting them to juggle when breathless after a high intensity burst to learn how to take control of breathing and the mind when in physical distress.
The second, is to take an individual through the 'one ball at a time' approach. Better to build the layers than throw them all up and hope for the best. In my experience, reducing an International level junior tennis athlete to throwing one ball up from the left hand and catching it in the right does initially come across as aggressively regressive. Then to ask them to show that it can be done in reverse with the same precision, helps to present the analogy of how to create habits. The skillset improves from practice. So long as what is practiced contributes positively towards the desired vision. The analogy is not lost on the individual willing to regress, as they accept how much it will help them advance. One ball becomes 2 switching. 2 switching hands becomes 2 switching around the same hand. 2 becomes 3 in full flow. Then take your juggling knowledge and interests wherever you like from there. The analogy directly links to creating lifestyle/ physical training practices whereby an individual knows they have to be patient to experience the longer term rewards, yet absolutely require short term challenges, that develop into habits, to get there.
Here are the questions I am asking myself on a regular basis. In turn, directly, or indirectly this is presented to every madmule client in a way that supports their ability to assess and be part of the agreed plan going forward.
How many balls I am juggling?
Which ones am I dropping, always or sometimes, and why?
Am I willing to keep dropping them, or put them down and introduce them back gradually?
Am I trying to keep certain balls up just because I see others doing it? This is one to be honest about.
This is to suggest that shadowing positive habits that others are doing is a good thing. However, do it with frequency and consistency, which is why it works for the other person in the first place. After an honest review, attempting to mirror has actually been the cause of regression. For the one that is being mirrored isn't just trying. They have already created the habit. What has not been seen or learned, is how they got there in the first place.
How many balls are you juggling?
Are you coping, improving and developing to create habits that empower and influence health and fitness?
Focus time only on doing more of this, no matter how many times they get dropped.
Spend no time on trying to juggle a ball that has sharp spikes emerging from it.
A ball with spikes will be thrown up. The more often it gets thrown into the mix, the more likely it will become a habit. Negative habits are produced in exactly he same way positive ones are. Repetition.
How much is anyone willing to regress to progress?
If I challenge myself to juggle 5 balls then I damn well better spend more time practicing the skills, that become a habit, to get there. Even if that means going back to 1 as part of the training plan. I can make 1 ball harder by standing one leg, standing on the opposite leg to the throwing hand, keeping one eye closed, looking directly ahead and not tracking the ball..... the progressions go on, all based on just throwing one ball!
If you have gained something from reading the blogs and you don't train with Madmule Fitness, then please consider showing your appreciation by visiting Century 4 Sanctuary Justgiving page. Madmule Fitness and Adventure will be completing the 100 miles to the Donkey Sanctuary as part of this years Bi annual fundraising challenge. A solo effort non stop that can only be done with the great support of friends and family of Madmule fitness.
4 da Mules (& donkeys)