How to create a daily practice habit
A few students have reached out to me this week with the question “how do I practice more” and “why can’t I manage to find the time”.
This is probably the most common question I am asked – and the most common objection to why progress isn’t happening.
Firstly, let me say that if you’re not practicing regularly (I recommend 15 minutes a day) then there is nothing fundamentally “wrong” with you. You are not lazy, distracted, too old, too young, too busy, have too full a life, too busy a job, too many kids or too slow a learner.
You just don’t have a system that works. That’s all. If you can find 15 minutes a day to watch TV or use Facebook or Instagram, then you have 15 minutes a day to play guitar. But yet, it’s not happening. So what would a good system look like?
1. Create a Plan
The first step is to create a practice plan.
- Decide to practice 15 minutes a day – at least 5 of the 7 days a week.
- Find a place that is your practice space.
- Choose a time where you won’t be interrupted.
- Have your guitar on a guitar stand so it’s easier to pick up than taking it out of its case.
- Have all your learning materials ready and in the same place too.
2. Develop the Habit
The next step is to make this a habit. This is where most people fail because they have a busy day – and just forget! Or feel too tire
I recommend looking at your existing habits – things you do every day (brush your teeth, eat dinner, putting on pyjamas at night, come home from work) and then use a habit stacking approach to make your guitar playing automatically follow this existing habit – that you already do every day.
3. Set a Target
Another thing that will help is to set a guitar playing target.
There must be a song that you would love to play. You probably even tell yourself sometimes it’s not possible because the song is too hard or your level isn’t there right now. But just tell yourself you’re going to play it in the next six months.
Identifying a “dream outcome” like this – assuming it’s going to happen if you practice (because that’s basically how it works folks). Every time you start your 15 minute practice, you tell yourself that if you keep up the work, you will achieve this dream outcome within the next 12 months of less.
So that’s it!
I have seen this approach work with so many students. I’d love to know if it works for you. But here’s a little tip – don’t wait for new years eve to try a new habit. What sense is there in that? Start today, follow these steps and I gaurantee you that in 3 weeks time if you stick with this, then the habit will be formed and the rest takes care of itself..