Starting a Practice Habit
Habits can be hard to break and a good habit like practicing the guitar is one worth keeping. So how do we develop habits? We do this by participating in the same or similar activity repeatedly over time. This creates a familiar rut or channel in our behavior.
Let’s address types of habits. Some habits are very easy to development while others are difficult. An easy habit to develop might be something like eating ice cream in the afternoon. We probably wouldn’t set out to develop this habit, but maybe we like to eat ice cream. When we do this often enough we will likely develop a habit and will feel strange if we don’t partake in our afternoon ice cream session. In this case we may find we like the activity and it is easy to do, but don’t like that we have a habit of doing the activity.
Other habits may be difficult to develop. Practicing guitar can be very challenging. Initially it may be difficult to participate in the activity. The reward of being able to play something can appear to be distant. It might take days, weeks, months, or even years to play certain songs. So unlike the ice cream, practicing guitar can have little or no immediate reward.
So what do we do? Think about that distant goal? Put post it reminders all over our house or workplace? Well, these approaches are not likely to work long-term. What we can do is rely on the habit forming part of our human nature. We can practice every day for three to four weeks straight and let the habit take shape.
Of course there will be busy days. On those days we can pick the guitar up and play something quick. Even taking a few seconds to play a G chord can help the habit along. So good luck and it’s time to commit to three to four weeks of daily practice.