I’ve always been a creature of habit. As someone who likes to be organized and prepared, habits give me comfort when fighting my natural tendency to control things that ultimately I know I have no power over. For example, I have some flexibility to my work schedule that would allow me to come in to the office at different times or work from home on occasion. Some days I go straight to morning meetings rather than stopping by the office. Despite this, I always get up at the same time each day and hardly vary my routine, even on mornings when I could sleep in a bit! I have an hour-long commute, but instead of working remotely more often, I prefer to have the time to brainstorm during my drive and give myself time to unwind mentally at the end of the day. I enjoy getting a jump on the morning and working on things before most other people have started to do so. While I could get an extra half-hour of sleep some mornings, sticking with my wake-up time gives me consistency, peace, and productivity. And frankly, it's just more comfortable sticking with what I know works than having to change my routine every day.
While I certainly have bad habits (such as stopping by McDonald’s in the morning to get a Diet Coke), over time I’ve pushed myself to develop these small positive routines. We are all creatures of habit and our everyday behaviors set standards, even if they're unintentional. Nobody wakes up one morning saying they’re going to be complacent in their marriage, micromanage co-workers, or yell at their kids. Everything we do is a choice, even when it is a choice not to pay attention to or control our own actions. We let small behaviors add up into a comfort zone, which becomes difficult to change.
If we can agree that the core value of life comes from growth and improvement, finding the will to actively pursue change can be a challenge. It’s easy to sit back and wait for things to happen to us. But how do we push ourselves to improve in small ways that will add up over time? How do we make stretching ourselves part of our routine?
One trick that has worked well for me is 1PUSH. Every day I actively look for just one thing I can do to make myself uncomfortable. I make a habit of seeking out that one thing and writing it down, which lets me see how the things that used to scare me eventually stop intimidating me. A PUSH action can be as small as raising your hand when a teacher calls for a volunteer. Picking up the phone to ask a prospective client out for lunch. Giving a presentation to colleagues. It’s whatever gives you that knot in your stomach, makes your palms sweat, or brings on a feeling of doubt. By intentionally being on the lookout for what can be my one PUSH activity for the day, it’s amazing how many opportunities arise as challenges I can take on. I’ve jotted down my notes in various journals and lists since starting this practice, and am excited to share a simple printable template you can use for tracking your 1PUSH actions.
Want a team approach to help keep you accountable to adopting this new behavior? The Boss Lady Coaching Facebook page will be regularly asking for others to share their 1PUSH action for the day- we’d love to hear yours! Or use the hashtag #1PUSH on Twitter or Facebook and we’ll feature what made you bravely step out of your comfort zone. Thanks for helping us lift each other up to achieve things we never thought possible!