We are in the gym practicing our skills over and over again. It’s idyllic for learning. We have a controlled environment that supports us practicing. The only way you will know if the skill is in your body for keeps is if under a situation of duress you can exercise what you have been practicing. I love this repetition of practice then test.
I can’t tell you how many times I thought I had mastered a skill, then got in the ring to watch it all dismantle. I was sure I had it down, but when fear and adrenaline ran through me, my body did the opposite of what I had practiced. It did old habits I thought had changed. All that matters is that you go right back into practice mode and find ways to get your skills to stick.
You don’t have to spar to test your skills.
Just have an argument, or a stressful situation in life. Watch what happens. Does the pitch of your voice rise, your heart beat faster or stay steady? Do your shoulders feel,tense or relaxed? Your jaw slack or clenched? In this arena I also often fall short of where I think I’ve gotten improved skill. I can only go in and practice what I want and wait for my next test to arrive. In the moment it’s not fun to feel as though I’ve failed, but when I step away for a minute, I feel motivated to do the work it takes to change up my skills, because calm, assertive action feels a hell of a lot better than escalating.