For now, I want to give some examples of how a singular approach for a short period of time can be broadened or made more specific, and how that three months, or a full season, of a commitment is so much more powerful than the rumored 21 days it takes to break a habit. What’s great about this seasonal approach is that if you shift every season, you are likely to improve three or even four critical areas of your life within a year, and also give yourself a fair amount of time to struggle, recover and achieve success.
Example #1: A teenage boy has dedicated his summer to his hoops dream. I’m going to tell him this week that he needs to narrow to something more specific than the same hoops dream that I saw running around in the heads of hundreds of teenage boys who were playing at Basketball City. He has to shoot the ball in games, as often as possible. Coaches can’t help a kid if he won’t take risks. Coaches cannot shoot the ball for you. We can set up the plays, we can give you the workouts, but we need you to do your part, which is the only way anyone will be able to take your dream seriously. You miss 100 percent of the shots you do not take. Shoot, shoot, shoot in game action. Ask yourself every day if you did or not – count it, measure it, answer to it – or else you will automatically fail in a game that is not football. You cannot play just one side of the court and succeed.
Example #2: Another boy I’ll see this week had years of asthma issues that basically left him out of shape his freshman year (understandably so). He was cut from his freshman team last year. I love his dad and the boy is really a good soul. He’s coming to our camp and I’m going to help him map his plan to make the team this year. The singular goal is to make the team, yes, but the focus every day before he goes to bed is what he is accountable for, which is, “Did I work on my conditioning today?” Specific areas will be environmental adjustments, nutrition, sleep patterns, workout variations, all of which will circle back to the broader singular focus for the summer season. This will put him in a great spot by November tryouts (halfway through next season).
Example #3: I am sure that married people or people in a relationship hit ruts or lulls where they have to pause and focus on their relationships with friends, lovers, family members. As kids get older, they get a little crankier, so many parents may spend three months focusing on spending more time together or maybe just talking to their child about school, sports, social. Maybe a part of this singular approach is to remove electronics from dinner and maybe go electronics-free for one night, or two nights, just so the goal is being reinforced by people who are accountable.
Example #4: Maybe someone has set the goal of quitting smoking. I would bet that anyone who makes that three-month commitment has to get creative about filling that mental, physical and emotional habit with something else – joining a gym, volunteering, reading, writing. Replacing the habit for three months with another habit.
At the end of every day and throughout the day, I ask myself if I best served my singular focus for the summer. If I cheat and eat dinner too late, or if I don’t work out, I have to adjust my day, or the following day, and get back on track. If I start working so much that I pass on going out with a friend or new companion, I stop and remind myself that work is not the priority for the next three months. Instead of telling people I’m working on my work-life balance (who isn’t), I say that any time there’s a tie between working on something and doing something that serves my health, wellness and fitness, the latter will win. Work has won that battle for too many years.