You know that itchy feeling when something is on your skin?
I’d heard tales of the giant Florida cockroaches and was dreading meeting them. In fact, that was one of the two most grossest, yuckiest things about this state that made me reconsider my move, but I was in college once, and we had roaches, so I went ahead with my move. My pros and cons list had enough pros to outweigh the roaches.
I was cooking last Tuesday night, and I felt that itchy feeling on my shin? You know the one...”something is on me!” and I was afraid I was going to have to burn down my house and move again. Somehow, I had the presence of mind to look before I flicked, and thank GAWD it wasn’t a roach. Instead an adorable little gecko had climbed my leg.
I have seen 2-3 of these adorable little fellas every week since moving. It’s only ever the tiny ones, never the adults, and they’re always vertical in some way; on the wall, in the tub, in the sink, on the soap (weird!) on my toothbrush (I got a new toothbrush!) and now, on me!
These sticky footed little beasts have become the star of a few social media posts themed, “My Tiny Gecko Roommates.”
Why am I telling you this? I'm glad you asked! Their sticky feet made me think of habits, and how it’s so hard to get them to stick...and one of the ways I’ve found to actually make new habits become actual habits…and that’s to start small.
When we’re goal setting or trying to break habits that aren’t serving us any more, we often believe that we will be capable of herculean shifts in behavior. Do any of these sound familiar?
- I’ll never eat sugar again!
- I’ll join the gym and go every weekday morning!
- I’ll only order black coffee!
- I’ll always be on time to everything forever!
- I’ll finish everything on my to do list every day for the rest of my life!
All well intentioned plans, but the likelihood that we’ll go from our usual super mocha frappe latte with extra caramel to straight black coffee is about as likely as me avoiding those roaches for my full residence in this state. It’s just not likely! (I keep my house pretty clean, so it will probably be outside, or in someone else's home thank you very much!)
Instead, how can you take a small step towards that goal? “This week, I will only order the super mocha frappe latte without the extra caramel.” And start there. Create THAT habit. Then bump out the mocha.
Or, instead of “finish everything” how about “I will identify 3 MUST DO items on my to do list every day, and I will finish those.” Or “I will park in the far parking lot and walk to the office every day this week.”
Think about ways you can make small shifts. At least then it’s not such a shock to the system. And you’re more likely to make that new small habit stick…then you can make another small shift…and another, and the eventually, you will make a huge shift. (rather than making no shift when you fail at the big plan, and give up!)
Want more support on this topic? Here are a few amazing books I’ve read that can also help!!
- Atomic Habits by James Clear
- The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
- Willpower by Roy Baumeister and John Tierney
Remember, small shifts, and eventually your habits will be sticking like that gecko on my leg. (ok, that’s kinda weird…but you've come to expect that from me.)
Go get 'em Tiger!!