A former coach of mine once told me that practice makes permanent. Wait, he meant “practice makes perfect”, right? Our team looked at him with puzzled looks in our eyes until he explained himself. He said that no matter how much you practice, everyone is going to make errors every now and then. But if you practice the right way, then you’re going to play the right way. He told us to play every practice like you play every game; half-assing a practice will lead to bad habits.
At 13 years old, I had absolutely no idea that those words would still be inspiring me today. What I didn’t realize is how much those three words would apply to everyday life. Being in the middle of a diet, I have certain targets that I want to reach by the end of the year. Let’s be honest, there are so many temptations out there to completely obliterate a diet. I’ll take the simplest of situations… nobody is around, you’re not that hungry, and you have a doughnut and a banana in front of you. This is practice. Take the banana, leave the doughnut… it’s usually never worth it and you’re not that hungry anyways. Now let’s try something harder… you’re on vacation with your family and friends, everyone is eating the most delicious, sugar-filled pie in the world, there’s nothing else to eat and you are so hungry that you can’t think. Hopefully, that practice will prepare you to make a good decision here. Maybe you eat some pie, just in moderation.
Sometimes the decision is the question of “to do or not to do”. Sometimes I come home from a 12-hour day at work with no motivation or strength to work out. But the more I practice working out after normal workdays, the easier it will become to get into that good habit long after I’ve achieved my first goals. Achieving certain goals can be tough, but practicing good habits (whether it be eating, working out, or an infinite number of other things) will train yourself into doing those good habits naturally. However difficult the road may seem, you can achieve anything you want to by continuously working at it.
Thanks for the words of inspiration, Coach. Sixteen years later, those words ring truer than ever.