Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Change your habits, change your life

This advice comes from Wayne, a prisoner. I heard it at Mass recently from a priest who is a prison chaplain. 

It’s good advice for Lent. Sometimes we can get bogged down because we take on too much. I’ve done that a lot and you’d think by now I would have learned that lesson. Maybe this Lent will be different! I now realize a few things:

1. I can only change one habit at a time.

2. The new habit has to be ridiculously easy or I won’t keep it up.

3. I need a reminder so I don’t forget to do the new habit.

My new habit is to stop spending time on email first thing in the morning, and to start working right away on my most important project. My reminder is attached to something I always do without fail: walk into my office in the morning.

The ridiculously easy thing I will do is to simply open up the computer file for that project. That’s it. It’s how I trick myself, though, because once I have the file open I’ll start working on it. Just to open the file takes no effort at all. Working on the project does take effort, and sometimes I read email instead because I’m dreading the complications of the project. Yes, the email eventually has to be read, but it can wait until later, after I’ve worked on the project a while and can use a break from it.

Our life is made up of little things. But their accumulated effect has a huge impact. One French fry isn’t going to clog your arteries. But eating an unhealthy diet day after day could eventually lead to a heart attack or a stroke. It’s the same for Lent. Little changes done day after day can get us to where we want to be for Easter, with the grace of God.

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