Reach Your Goals with Deliberate Practice


Do you have a personal or professional goal you want to reach? Is there a skill you’d like to improve or a habit you’d like to create? Perhaps using deliberate practice could help you in this pursuit. Author James Clear defines deliberate practice as, “A special type of practice that is purposeful and systematic. While regular practice might include mindless repetitions, deliberate practice requires focused attention and is conducted with the specific goal of improving performance.”

How do you utilize deliberate practice? It’s simple. Step one is to set your goal. This could be anything from lose 15 lbs, learn to design MCC’s in AutoCAD, or be a better communicator. The next step is to practice.  Lots of intentional and purposeful practice. Mindless repetition is not what you are after here.  Be mentally engaged as you practice. Focus on the outcome you want. Seek to improve your knowledge or skill, not just go through the motions. One way you could practice being a better communicator is to ask yourself daily to only include relevant information and keep your message short when communicating with others.

Additionally, setting a daily reminder to practice and creating a list of steps to guide your practice can be helpful. Tracking your progress will help you keep sight of what you want to achieve and show if your practice is being effective.  For example, to reach my goal of losing 15 lbs, my deliberate practice and tracking could be using an app to record the calories I consume and the amount of exercise I do each day. As I lose weight, I’ll see the effectiveness of my deliberate practice. Seeing progress helps keep you motivated to press on.Know that it’s okay to refine your process and rhythm as your go. If you aren’t seeing the results you want, modify your practice.

Lastly, know that success requires rigor. Practice with purpose. Stay focused. It often takes two months or more of deliberate practice to make something an ongoing habit. If you persevere, I think you might surprise yourself with your results!

Want to learn more? Check out the book The Leader Habit by Martin Lanik.

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Doug Post, Interstates Engineering President