Can routine stifle progress?

Can sticking to a routine actually stifle improvement and progress? Many people claim that their routine is what helps them to stay organised, plan ahead and achieve their goals. But if things are not going according to plan, sticking with your preferred routine could be a major factor in the lack of success.

Hamish Hartlett talked about sticking to routine despite an ongoing lack of success.

Listening to a local sports show on way home a few nights ago I heard Hamish Hartlett, who is Vice Captain of the Port Adelaide Football Club, be asked whether he should be dropped from the team due to his recent lack of form.

Part of his answer referred to the fact that he was not sure why he was struggling on match day as he was "doing everything the same". He made reference to training, preparation and recovery and mentioned that other leaders in the team were also in the same situation.

Now I consider Hartlett to be a very, very good player. In fact, given the choice of just about any player from the Power to join the team I follow, the Adelaide Crows, Hartlett would be very high on my list.

My first instinct was to question, if doing everything the same is not working, they why haven't you tried something different?

Now routines can be very effective for some people. As this article explains, the objective of a routine is really progress – to help you get the best out of your daily life by default. However it also discusses this risk of going into autopilot and sticking with a stagnating routine, that may result in a cycle of unproductive actions that cause a loss in motivation and performance.

The second point in this blog points out that your subconscious can forget that your capabilities have grown and uses an interesting analogy of an elephant than cannot escape its chains, which is resultant of a routine established as a calf. Perhaps the player need to realise that their skills, experience and potential have all increased over the past 2-3 seasons and therefore their routines and preparation need to change to recognise this progression.

It has been a tough first month of the season for Port players, coaches and supporters, but I suggest they look at how they can change up their routines to help them to rediscover and transcend the success they experienced in 2014.

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