Need a Trick? Use Your Own.

A friend of mine recently shared with me that she always has a better week when she picks out her clothes in advance. She noticed that when she doesn't have to deal with the daily stress and scramble of finding a clean, appropriate outfit that her mornings are calmer, she's more confident, she's more prepared to jump into a busy day, and yes, it's just a better day. All of that didn't surprise me, but what did surprise me was her subsequent admission that she very rarely does that simple task even though she knows it has such a positive impact. Say what?!


I should back up to say that it both does and does not surprise me. It surprises me because here is someone who knows a trick, an easy trick, that works for them, and she still opts to skip it. She knows that this small investment of time will "pay" for itself five times over AND it will markedly improve the quality of her day. She can clearly articulate all of this to me and yet, it doesn't happen. And it doesn't surprise me simply because I know that it happens to everyone, that we all often ignore our own best advice.

It's the step, which can often feel like more of a leap, between awareness and action that trips us up. It's the rewiring of habit that we shy away from. We hold onto our routines and tendencies as if they were sacred treasure, even when they take us further away from where we want to be. We look at these new possibilities as if they were some far away continent accessible only by some complex and arbitrary sequence of mechanisms. We don't realize that these new shores of ourselves are often only one decision removed from us, one small trick away.

We choose the familiar struggle over the unknown triumph. I'm not sure why we do it, whether it's inertia or laziness or fear, but I know that we need to stop. Does it sound too dramatic to talk this way about picking out your clothes? Not if you believe that small choices build big lives. Let's stop reading about other people's tips and tricks and take a moment to recognize our own insights. Whatever it is that we already know works for us, let's do that first.