Doing things differently is one of my daily goals. It was an experiment, to tell you the truth. I started working towards this goal for two reasons:
- Most experts on change believe in the old adage that if you keep doing the same things, you’ll get the same results. But WHAT things do I do differently? Where do I start? It was a little overwhelming.
- The thought of doing things differently, makes me think of George Costanza–you know, from the old Seinfield series? The episode where George does everything the opposite because his every instinct is wrong, so he figures it’s worth a try. It works! An attractive woman picks him up, he gets a job with the New York Yankees, he stands up to bullies, basically everything he wants. In the end, he can’t keep it up. It just isn’t him! He’s used to being a loser-that’s his comfort zone!
We could talk a lot about getting out of our comfort zones, but that’s for another day. No, let’s stick with the subject of doing things differently. I make a lot of good decisions, so I didn’t want to do the exact opposite of everything I’d normally do, like George.
And since I wasn’t entirely ready to make BIG CHANGE, I decided to do something, anything differently. Here are some examples from my journal:
- Hung my work clothes up or put them in the laundry instead of tossing them on a chair or throwing them on the floor.
- A few times I’ve gotten up early to run.
- NOT eating a second helping of Pad Thai (which I LOVE), because I was full and didn’t really WANT it.
- Got up at my usual work time on Saturday and immediately wrote a blog post instead of sleeping in.
- Starting sing practice with the conscious intention to do it with joy (several other examples of consciously doing things with joy that I don’t normally find joyful, like housework or cooking).
- Some days I’ve been getting tea instead of coffee at work.
This has been a really eye-opening experiment, which I will continue. I’ve realized that doing things differently “primes the pump” for change, because I’m making minute change every time I do something differently than I normally would. I’m interrupting the pattern. As I grow more comfortable making these small changes every day, the bigger ones, I think, will be easier.
It’s shocking, really, how quickly I can get into a well-worn pattern, a habit, a rut! Like I’ve only been at my new job for three weeks and I already have a morning routine where I get my coffee, go upstairs, turn on my computer, hang up my coat, take off my boots, put on shoes, and put my bags in the bottom drawer.
By interrupted these small habits like tea instead of coffee, makes me more conscious of the choices I make. I’m not on automatic pilot–I’m actually thinking about what I’m thinking, eating, drinking, doing, etc.
Try it out! You don’t have to be your complete opposite, like George, but you can shake up your habits with doing some things just a little bit differently. Pretty soon I think, by doing things differently, we’ll get different results, giving us the confidence we need to embrace those big changes when we’re ready for ’em!