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Excellence is not an act, but a habit

The full quotation – from Aristotle – appears to the left. I’ve often wondered how best to harness this. For example, it would be trite to suggest that this is all that would be needed to break a full-blown addiction, but imagine it being used in a small – if positive way – as part of the treatment.

Many smokers who are in the process of giving up are given re-assurance by ex-smokers that the heavy-duty constant cravings pass after a couple of weeks or so, dependant upon the level and length of the addiction. Further that the sudden bursts of craving also pass if one can hold off from smoking for around five minutes. If I was to be giving up smoking again, this is exactly the type of knowledge I would find both helpful and comforting.

But what about the building of new habits?

Matt Cutts, a Google engineer, gave a brief talk at TED entitled Try Something New for 30 Days. This wasn’t an entirely new idea, Morgan Spurlock had already put into practice this philosophy via his programme 30 Days. As can be seen from the linked-to Wikipedia entry, the series featured an individual spending 30 days in an environment that would be alien to them – for example: Straight Man in a Gay World. Matt wanted to see if the same concept could be used in changing his own life. So Matt started to practice his 30-day programmes, building from couch potato to someone who cycled to work every day – for pleasure, via writing a novel during November on the NaNoWriMo challenge undertaken by thousands of writers, to climbing Mount Kilamanjaro. Despite these achievements, Matt felt the biggest benefit was that time no longer raced by. He believes this is because he was living and experiencing each day to the full. Matt also found he was most successful when he made small, sustainable changes because the big, crazy challenges being unlikely to stick. Hardly a problem, let’s not forget that big challenges can always be broken down into smaller steps – those small, sustainable changes that Matt talks about.

So, what are you waiting for? The next 30 days are going to pass by anyway – why not decide on something you’ve always wanted to do – and give it a shot.

© 2015 Caring Coaching originally posted 11th June 2015