Experiments in challenging perspective!
I'm curious, do you identify as a creature of habit?
Or do you tend to switch things up and go with the flow?
Often, we high achievers find a way that works for us and tend to stick to it, no?
Human beings are comfortable with routine and expected behaviour.
This helps systems move smoothly and efficiently.
Socially, when someone acts as expected, we feel kindly towards that person.
When they behave unexpectedly, we feel at odds.
Practically, we come up with routines that become second nature and we continue with them because they work - how you brush your teeth, how you shower, make your coffee, get dressed.
We don't give it much thought now do we?
To say I am a huge fan of routine is a massive understatement.
I THRIVE on routine. It makes me feel at ease.
But the flip side, is that when the unexpected does occur, I struggle to integrate quickly.
Maybe you can relate.
Last week, I wrote about trying a different viewpoint at work or home and it got me thinking, "What am I doing that has outgrown its purpose?"
So this past week, I have been experimenting with switching things up.
I don't know about you, but I like sleep.
I love that cozy snuggled in feeling that happens on those occasions when you wake up without obligations (remember those teenage years?).
Normally, I wake up when my alarm goes off and press snooze for a glorious amount of time.
I find I can come up with some pretty crazy dreams in that almost asleep state.
I choose to set my alarm 15 minutes early and enjoy stress-free snooze.
But in reality, it is not very productive, because if (when) I get lulled into an extra snooze (which is often), I end up rushing around stressed to make it out the door on time.
Being rushed and that anxiety undoes the deliciousness of the extra lie-in.
I was processing this stress the other day and asked myself, "Is this really working for me?"
I knew the answer. But I really didn't want to give up my snooze. But I needed to test it out.
If I got up an hour earlier, I could accomplish the extra snooze, and even throw in some improvements to my self-care routine.
So I did.
I switched up my normal routine and set my alarm for an hour earlier.
I also gave myself permission to go back to sleep if I discovered it was too painful.
A few neat observations happened.
Remember, I am a creature of habit. The first challenge was to listen to my body.
The second was to purposely keep this time as routine-free as possible.
Each day has elements to choose from, but they are all optional, and all are choice.
I get to show up and ask, "What do I feel like?".
Yoga, morning pages, extra cup of tea, reading. Anything that catches my fancy is fair game.
And it is by choice. Operating solely from a free and allowed space.
Guys. It has been fabulous and challenging. And empowering.
My body isn't sure what to make of it, but I have discovered I am a nicer human if I have some more time to wake up slowly, and if I do some morning stretches.
I am determined to take this as a by-choice only and not to turn it into a must-do routine.
That's the challenge for me. Learning balance.
Do you have time in your day that isn't rule bound? That is free from "shoulds"?
I am not suggesting you wake up earlier, that's just what I tried.
How would you use that carved out time?
At Life Coach Online, part of the process we look at is creating micro-habits that help us shift into our desired life. Small steps that work for you and with your strengths.
In the 8 week program, we move from current assessment to strength clarity and then to creating a way forward that works with those strengths.
Here is a quick exercise to try.
Over the next two days, pay attention to how you function.
Not for judgment, or to change anything, just for observation purposes only.
Notice how much of it is on autopilot?
Is there room to change up the unimportant?
It's amazing how tricky it is to brush your teeth with the opposite hand or to dry off from the shower in a different pattern.
I'm not suggesting you change it up forever. Just to see for a bit. Play with it.
This exercise to show how we have mastered possibly difficult tasks and turned them into automatic tasks over time.
It was difficult for you to learn them in the first place too!
What habits would you like to start creating?
Is there something that you have always wanted to achieve but were too stuck to try?
When we question how we do something, and look at it from another point of view, we can choose our actions (current or new) with greater awareness and really own our lives!
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Wishing you a marvelous week,
Tea-loving awesomeness. Challenging perfectionism.