Change a Habit by Changing Focus

Change a Habit by Changing Focus

If there is anything I have learned a scant two months into 2012, it's that I am quite possibly insane. No, no -- hear me out.

I have set some goals for 2012. I don't think I set them willy-nilly. I tried to be deliberate in them, to go where I believe God wants me to go, etc., etc. But looking at where I am now with a couple of them and at why I am where I am with them, I can't help but think of the following quote attributed to Albert Einstein: "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

Oh yeah -- that's me to a "T" in a few things.

Yes, I want to write a novel to post on a blog in a serial format. But going on Facebook or Pinterest or hitting the snooze button "one more time" won't get words into the designated Word document.

A de-cluttered and organized house will be great. And granted, I ended up working full-time hours for the first 6 weeks of the year. But I still had some free evenings and weekends where I could have worked on something for half an hour or so. But again, I had 'other things' to do.

Nor is looking at where I could have been by now helping me move forward. It's keeping me focused on the wrong things. Think of it this way: I need to drive forward to get my car out of a parking space, but I keep my attention focused on my rearview mirror. One doesn't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out I'm going to be in that parking space for a long time if I keep doing that.

So what do I do?

The answer is beautiful in its simplicity:

I do things differently. (Shocking, I know!)

So rather than focus on the bad habit I want to change (what I have been doing), I focus and work on developing the new habit. For example, my biggest stumbling block in relation to writing and de-cluttering is procrastination. It's not Facebook or Pinterest or television. Those are the means by which I procrastinate. But peppering my days with reminders not to procrastinate, however, keeps me focused on that habit. What I need to do is focus on what I want to be doing instead: in this case, write a novel and de-clutter the house.

In those two cases, I would do better to focus on going to bed earlier. Now that may sound like it is completely unrelated to the two goals mentioned, but really it's the key to reaching them. For by going to bed earlier, I can get up earlier to write. And by getting up earlier to write, I then have time later in the day to work work on stuff around the house. And then, then once those tasks are done, I will have time to check out Facebook or Pinterest or to watch something on TV.

So here's to moving forward with each new today and staying sane in the process. ;)

Photo Credit: Lorraine Murphy (Flickr via Creative Commons)

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