7 July 2014

It’s easy to underestimate the necessity of routine in day-to-day life, especially if you run a business or you’re a busy parent, juggling lots of balls all at once. But having a routine isn’t just about introducing structure to a chaotic schedule, it’s also about comfort and confidence.

winning_formularAthletes are a great example of how positive a ritual or routine can be. Take tennis players, for example, who have a great deal of pressure resting on their shoulders. Why do they bounce the ball a certain number of times before a serve? Why do they take a deep breath and perhaps close their eyes for a moment before taking the plunge? Is it because these actions have been repeated over and over again in practice, becoming familiar, almost automatic?

I think you could argue that, as creatures of habit, we tend to attach emotions to certain actions or activities. For some athletes, a pre-game routine brings a sense of calm and focus. And if you’ve got a winning routine, why break it?

For me and Gail, our main ritual is one we carry out each year without fail, sitting down and listing out our goals. Then, when the year is drawing to a close, we look back over what we wrote, crossing off the things we achieved and re-listing the ones we have yet to accomplish. Whilst we might sometimes talk about breaking routine – when something has become stagnant and boring – there’s also a lot to be said for those rituals that help you to focus and to achieve. As long as you’re growing and developing, that winning routine is working. So what’s yours?

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