My awful, bad habit (and how I changed it)
It’s true: I used to be a Grade A slob.
Piles of clothes everywhere. Plates of peanut butter sitting out after a week. Important ‘stuff’ hidden among the madness.
My mom used to remind me that she didn’t raise me in a barn and was baffled as to how I could be this messy. To be honest, being messy just felt good. Barn life? Sign me up.
The messiness got even worse when I was in college. I lived with another slob, and we took being messy to another level. Leaving out the gory details, all I’ll say is that at one point I recognized I was living like a fraternity brother and something had to change.
Sometimes, we need to come to a breaking point in order to take action. Other times, we’re naturally motivated to keep improving and we don’t need a ‘rock bottom’ to get there.
But in my case, yes. Rock bottom was needed.
What’s interesting about how I went from messy to exceptionally tidy for someone like me is that no amount of people telling me how messy I was ever made me feel excited to change.
Things started to change when I decided to change how I even thought about messiness in the first place!
Which is why I’m talking about this today.
I know we all have secret…and not-so-secret ‘bad habits’ that we’d love to throw out the window.
…Saying ‘um’ or ‘like’ all the time
…Not sleeping enough
…Not exercising enough
…Weird verbal tics
…Eating certain foods
…I’m sure we all could think of more
I also know there’s habits that we’d LOVE to have…and we’re thinking…how can I get some of those?
Throughout the years, I’ve cultivated (and invented) ways to ‘break’ bad habits and also create a fertile ground for newer, better, and even more beneficial ones to spring from. I believe the best kind of habits are ones that arise from inside of you naturally, instead of trying to copy someone else’s.
So back to me turning into Mr. Clean.
I did not read any articles about ‘clean people’. I used to think people who were neat all the time were squares. I wanted personality, oomph in the space I was in–not everything tucked away perfectly.
Then I had my own little lightbulb moment.
The reason why I was messy, is because I didn’t care. About my things. About certain parts of my life.
So I would buy things I didn’t absolutely love…I wouldn’t respect what I already had…and so my ‘habit’ of messiness was just me saying: “I don’t give a flying $&@!”.
When I started to care…and when I started to understand that how I took care of my things was a reflection of my life…the change happened naturally.
So what’s helpful about this for you?
I believe that how we currently think and talk about habits is a little backwards. Scientifically, it’s amazing that we’ve identified how well a small step approach works, and why having triggers and anchors are important (among other things).
But what if the habits you’re trying to create aren’t the right ones?
What if that’s not the right approach for the ones you’re trying to change?
Because consider the incredible frustration of doing it all ‘right’…but still feeling like you can’t stick to anything? Reading all the books…and nothing is really working? You feel guilty. Like a failure. “What is wrong with me that I can’t do this one simple thing?”
It’s because something is missing from the solutions. And you are not a flawed person! All the blaming ourselves and the chiding and the negative self-talk only makes us feel awful and like we should spend a week in time out.
There is a better way. There is always a better way.
What’s 1 ‘bad habit’ you’re trying to change right now? What’s challenging about it? Comment below and tell me. It’s time to start doing this differently.