Hack It Your Way
I can’t resist “life hack” clickbait.
Want to be more grounded? Meditate for 5 minutes every day. Want to have more energy? Jump rope. Want to feel less rushed? Get up an hour earlier.
Click, click, click.
Part of what makes these alluring is that they seem so dang simple, even though we know behavior change is usually complex.*
We often feel like a failure when we only do the new behavior once or twice because these articles emphasize that for the intended result (being grounded, having more energy, etc.), you must do the same thing every day.
Of course, repetition is important for the development of a new habit, and routines are an important part of feeling stable and productive.
But when we see these enticing “life hacks,” we don’t necessarily want the habit so much as the result.
At the risk of angering the “coaching gods,” here’s an alternative suggestion:
Perhaps most importantly, we can get inspiration from ourselves.
Do one thing every day to achieve the result…but it doesn’t have to be the same thing every day! (At least not at first.)
Want to be more grounded? Perhaps one day you meditate, another day you take a bath, and still another day you open the window or door first thing in the morning and take three deep breaths.
Want to have more energy? Maybe you skip rope one day, another day you listen to a peppy song and sing along.
If you find one thing that works, by all means do it again. Maybe you turn it into a habit. But behaviors centered on achieving a result may not have to be the same thing over and over. Stay focused on the result and be creative, you can hack it your way!
Do One Thing Different Step by Step
- Identify the result you want to achieve.
- List all of the things you do habitually related to that behavior, focusing on things that prevent you from achieving that result.
- Come up with a list of things that you could do differently that would support that result.
- Do one thing different! Remember: you can do the new behavior just once, more than once, in a rotation with other behaviors. If you find one that works consistently, turn it into a habit!
- I want to get a better night’s sleep.
- I stay on my screen until late; I eat sugar close to bedtime; my mind is racing about things coming up the next day; my body feels tense.
- Put my phone away in a separate room; have my treat earlier; do a “brain dump” before night time; do 2 or 3 simple stretches before getting in bed.
- Again: you don’t have to do the same one every time! One night do a brain dump, another night do some stretching…mix it up or see what sticks!
(other) Smart People
“What if…all the rules and ways we lay down in our heads, don’t even exist at all? What if we only believe that they’re there, because we want to think that they’re there?”
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