What Stephen Curry Can Teach Us About Creating Successful Habits
Stephen Curry was told his whole life that he would never make it to the NBA. He wasn’t tall enough. He wasn’t strong enough. He would be crushed by his competition.
As a high school sophomore, Stephen was a mere 125 pounds and only 5’ 6″ with a baby face. When he graduated high school, he had no offers for college basketball. He was the epitome of an underdog.
Cut to now, 2015, Stephen Curry won the NBA Championships with the Golden State Warriors and was crowned Most Valuable Player.
So how did he do it? How did he rise up through the ranks to prove everyone wrong by going from playing at a small liberal arts college, to the NBA, with the world and even his genetics seemingly against him?
Alan Stein, highly esteemed strength and conditioning basketball coach, shares his experience of working with Stephen Curry before anyone knew his name.
“Several years ago I had the honor of working the first ever Kobe Bryant Nike Skills Academy. Nike invited the top 20 high school shooting guards and the top 10 college shooting guards in the country to this camp with Kobe, and it’s kinda funny now that I look back on it, how many of those players are now household names in the NBA.
The least recognised player there was Stephen Curry, but I knew immediately that he was the most impressive and that thinking long term, he was going to be a future NBA superstar, and here’s how I knew that: it was all because of his work habits.
Now those skills academies, we’d have two workouts a days for three straight days. Thirty minutes before every single workout, most players were still in their flip flops and would have on their headphones and Stephen Curry had already started doing some form shooting. He’d already started taking game shots from game spots in game situations. By the time the workout officially started he’d probably already made 100–150 shots, almost in a full sweat.
And then probably the most impressive thing that he did, was as soon as every workout was over, he would not leave the court until he swished five free throws in a row. You know how hard that is? But that’s the level of excellence he holds himself to.The moral of that story, is that success is not an accident, success is actually a choice. Stephen Curry is one of the best shooters on the planet today because he has made the choice to create great habits.”
Your success in life is the sum of the habits you create. If you look at the most successful people in the world, you will see that they have habits that they practice everyday.
People are rewarded in public for what they practice for years in private.
— Tony Robbins
If you create a habit of going to the gym, you’re going to be in shape. If you create a habit of meditation and practicing daily gratitude, you’re going to be happier. A habit is something you do repeatedly which ultimately will decide the person you are and where you will end up in life.
So how do improve ourselves? How do we create these great habits? The easiest framework to establishing a new habit I’ve found is to take advantage of existing behaviors you already do unconsciously through habit stacking.
Habit stacking is something you’re most likely already doing without even realizing. For example, every morning when I wake up and take a shower and brush my teeth, I am habit stacking. These little habit stacks have been conditioned over time, so much so that you don’t even think about it.
Now, by attaching a new habit with something you already do habitually, you are more likely to stick to that thing.
The 3 simple rules to Habit Stacking process is:
- Decide on your new habits
- Plan a time to do each one
- Track that you’re doing it
The Formula to Habit Stacking looks like this:
After/Before [CURRENT ACTIVITY/HABIT], I will [NEW ACTIVITY/HABIT].
For example, from what we know Stephen Curry from his coach, he could have used these formulas:
“Before every team workout (current habit/routine), I will take 150 shots at the basket.”
“After every team workout (current habit/routine), I will shoot 5 free throws (new habit) in a row before I can go shower.”
For people like us, maybe it’s meditation, gratitude, or exercise that we want to add into our routine, so our formula would look like this:
- Before brushing my teeth, I will meditate for 3 minutes
- Before eating breakfast, I will do 20 pushups and 30 squats
- After taking a shower, I will write down 3 things I am grateful for
It’s important to take it slow with this process, you shouldn’t try to build 5 new habits at once, for example. That’s too much, and it won’t stick. Rather, make a note of the current habit stacks in your day. Your morning or evening routine are usually the go-to’s. Add one new habit to each stack, and do it for 30 days before trying to add anything else.
“I know I’m putting the work in. I know I’m going to excel at this. I have goals in mind, and I’m going to make those goals happen.” — Stephen Curry
In the comments, let me know what activity or habit you want to include into your life.