When trying to make progress in life (or even just stay afloat) we are often looking for advice on what to do but sometimes it’s what we don’t do that will make a big impact in how quickly we progress (or if we do at all!)
I first came to this conclusion when I was trying to lose a little weight and I was running on the treadmill watching the calorie counter go up oh so slowly… It occurred to me that instead of trudging along on this treadmill I could just pass on the bag of chips. Boom! There’s 160 fewer bad calories with not even an iota of physical effort.
Now if I would pass on the bag of chips and do my cardio then I was making some real progress. I find that progress builds on progress. When I see myself moving forward it inspires me to stay the course and continue to progress. If I’m working out regularly but not seeing much improvement in my body composition then do I just work harder or eliminate the real problem- a poor diet?
When practicing it can be easy to fall into old habits, play old licks that are comfortable, try to play things without slowing them down and cleaning them up, etc. The time saved in tackling new material as well as starting at the beginning and working up instead of just haphazardly throwing stuff together saves a lot of time in the long run and you will see your playing improve dramatically. I have to check myself on this pretty much daily. Yes- warm up with something familiar for a few minutes but always be looking for new ideas and learn them correctly then play them at tempo.
Do your best not to engage in behaviors that are bad or non-productive habits and make it a habit to work hard and smart. By eliminating the non-productive habits from our lives we can really enhance the positive work that we are already doing. The effect is truly exponential.
I challenge you to find just one habit that is setting you back- whether it’s alcohol, ice cream, too much non-productive time on social media, watching TV or playing the same old licks over and over. Replace those habits with healthier and more productive habits. But try just one. Give it 30 days. See what happens!
(my challenge is to lay off the ice cream. my goal is to lower my body fat. just one thing…)