“I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.” -Henry David Thoreau
I’m being hustled.
I hate to admit it but, as I type this I recognize the habit of “just one more article, just one more email, just one more…” is standing in my way.
This is an old habit which I’ve worked to break many times over but it creeps back in.
This morning during my scripture study I read what Paul said in Romans, “I do not understand my actions. I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate….for I have the will to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.”
If you have Faith or not, you can absolutely agree with Paul.
It’s like any addiction, we get caught up fighting our old habits and we seem to keep falling back into them. Then it becomes a tail-chasing contest, hustling after the healthier habit and falling again to the old. Tell me I’m not the only one?
The problem is self. We have two selves; the short term and long term or irrational and rational self. For example, our rational self knows we need to diet. We have all the instructions, grocery lists, workouts etc we should just be able to do it, right? No. Our irrational self chimes in, it hates discomfort and will do anything to avoid it. This is when the hustle hits. The path of least resistance is the choice and we are right back to our old habit.
Predictably poor. The good news? We can predict those poor habits. They are the habits that we so easily slide back into and within that predictability, we can create a new environment through choice architecture.
Build it out. Just like building a new home: color, furniture, window coverings, art, you create a space to grow and flourish in. By knowing our poor habits we can gain cues or nudges in how to build out a new environment to create and build new habits.
Can’t walk away from emails? Add an extension that chimes after your work is complete, reminding you to step away.
Pinging phone? Set “do not disturb” to create the unhindered family time your kids are desperate for.
Stepping on the scale 5 times a day? Get rid of the scale, go to your local gym just once per week to see where you’re at.
Tell the world. Sure, designing a new environment can be done but how do you stick to it? No one likes others to know they are failing. Tell others. Set up accountability with a spouse or co-worker. Ask them to gently remind you of the new habit you’re working to establish.
Work with rather than against your nature. Too many times we try to change everything about ourselves, we decide to change every bad habit we have all at once and fall prey to burnout and right back to the habits we wanted to rid ourselves of. In part, this is because we tell ourselves we can’t be successful because of “who we are.”
This couldn’t be further from the truth. We all have strengths. By identifying your strengths and using them rather than focusing on your weaknesses, you can work within your nature without fighting against it.
Keep discovering. Do you want to stop the hustle? Keep discovering. By exploring your habits and how your environment can breed them, positively or negatively is key. Asking others to take part in our growth enables you with the accountability and feedback needed to grow. Finally, a continued exploration into oneself will unveil innate strengths and the ability to hustle the hustler and develop the personal principles and vision for your life.
Piper Harris is an entrepreneur, leadership success coach, author, wife, and mom on a quest to coach women and organizations in creating lives that drive, empower, excite and motivate through personal success, effective leadership, and organizational development.