Last month our conversations were about new beginnings and fresh starts. This month we’re focusing on change. As we move into the second month of the New Year, many of us are thinking about the changes we want to make. Getting organized is often top of the list as are losing weight, getting more exercise, eating more healthfully, and creating a better work/life balance.
Any change that we desire starts with the acknowledgment and awareness that in fact, we want to make a change. After awareness come changes in thinking, habits, and behaviors. For example, I’d like to eat fewer sweets. One way to do this is not to bring them home.
At the market, I saw my favorite cookies. Oh, how I love Tate’s chocolate cookies! It wanted to take them home with me. However, once they were in the house, I knew it would be impossible not to eat them. To reach my “eat less sweets” goal, not bringing the cookies home or avoiding the cookie aisle all together are examples of small habit changes that will help me reach my desired goal.
At the end of a recent organizing session with one of my clients, she jokingly said to me,
“I shouldn’t read the newspaper with scissors in my hand.”
The two of us burst out laughing. In one sentence she identified her challenge and thought of a clever tweak to her article clipping habit. Read without scissors.
For her, the piles of newspapers to read and articles to clip and manage had become a burden. As someone that loves learning and sharing what she learns with others, she often cuts out newspaper articles of interest. These articles become piles. The piles become to dos waiting for action. She recently recognized that many of the articles that she had clipped were outdated and could be recycled.
After spending many days sorting the backlog of newspapers, her attitude about article clipping shifted. She questioned her reasoning for keeping them, the time it took to manage them, and the reality that much of what had been important was no longer relevant. From this awareness, she had the insight, “I shouldn’t read the newspaper with scissors in my hand.”
It’s amazing how one small habit change can completely shift an outcome. So whether it’s leaving the cookies at the market or reading without scissors, it is possible to easily change a pattern to yield your desired outcome.