A dear friend and I were going on a quick morning hike along a beautiful lake nearby my house. The Brilliance Nuggets came up. My friend has been reading them. How cool.
She also read the one that asked “Which ONE Simple Discipline Will Transform Your Life?“
Of course, I asked “Did you pick something? Which one did you pick?”
Her answer sounded quite familiar. I had been in the same situation so many times. She wanted to avoid consuming empty calories and exercise more.
“Cool! But that is TWO things,” I said.
“Yeah, but there are so related!” said my friend.
Sure, they are. That is one of those tricky things. That is part of the reason why changing habits is hard. We are not content to change ONE habit at a time. We have to change at least two things at once. And often they are not little changes either.
It is like our life is a bowl full of spaghetti. You want to pick one up and make a change. As you pick up that one spaghetti, several other spaghetti wiggles and move, too. There are so intertwined and entangled.
My friend tells me that she is helping 9th graders with their elective AVID program. It stands for “Advancement Via Individual Determination.” What was lesson #1? Small tiny changes in the right direction add up to a big positive impact. And vice versa: Small tiny decisions in the wrong direction add up, too – just negatively.
Why is it then that we choose to ignore the wisdom we know? We know small tiny changes make a difference. We know changing several big habits at once is a recipe for failure. And then we are beating ourselves up for it.
Let’s Throw the Spaghetti in the Trash and Start All Over Again?
My friend was saying sometimes she just feels like throwing the bowl of spaghetti in the trash and starting all over again.
Starting over again is always an option. Sometimes it is a good option. Yet, there is another option. How about we pick up a bit of sauce on top of one spaghetti and start there? Start small and make that small thing successful. In other words, we could follow the advice we give to the kids in the AVID program.
What does this look like? Let’s come up with an alternative to vowing not to drink anything alcoholic during the week AND getting more exercise. What does “more” mean anyway? How much more is “more”?
Instead, how about this? First off, focus on ONE habit. Let’s say tackling the empty calories/drinking alcohol habit. That is still a big change. Instead of going all radical on it and saying no more drinking during the week, you could do this: Write down what you drink each day. Commit to doing that for 30 days. See what happens. Whatever you track will get better. And no beating yourself up about it, please!
Or, as a random example out of my own life, if you are “stuck” with your renovation projects find one small thing you can do. One! Small! Thing. Other things will follow.
Now, that we are doubly clear on picking ONE SMALL thing to transform your life, which one are you picking? 🙂 Please let me know.