Rigor is not a commonly used word nowadays. In this context, I mean diligence, precision, accuracy and meticulousness. The rigor I’m referring to means you are focusing on changing a behavior for the better. Typically starting or stopping a habit. Rigor takes extreme focus with a purpose.
For example, if you were trying to sharpen your golf game, you’d practice with awareness and consciousness, working to perfect your swing, stance or putt. You may engage a pro to help you refine your skills.
If you want to lose weight, you’ll do better if you write down everything you eat and staying on a proven eating plan. You are more conscious of your hunger level instead of automatically reaching for a snack. You put in parameters that guide your behavior, like “no eating starches after 5:00,” or “every day walk around the block upon rising.” You may join a group program or hire a coach to help you stay on track.
Everyone has a habit or two that could use shoring up. Maybe you’re always late to meetings, don’t return emails for a few days, or forget to pack your lunch so you spend or eat more than you’d like in the cafeteria. You want to change the habit(s), but you don’t seem to make much progress.
What could you do to add more rigor?
- Tell another of your commitment. Having an accountability partner can be the motivation you need to shift behaviors.
- Figure out what gets in your way of establishing the new behavior. If you’re late because you don’t notice the time, set an alarm. If you’re a “one more thing” person, force yourself to just get up and leave in time. Put the tools in place to help you make the changes.
- Track your results — daily (or perhaps hourly). You’ll see your progress — or lack there of — and be more motivated to stay (or get) on target.
- Commit to behaving consciously and purposefully around this change. Don’t allow yourself to go on automatic. If you find you’re slipping into the old behavior, stop and shift as soon as you’re aware of it.
Changing habits isn’t often easy. But if you add rigor to your desires, they will change more quickly.