The Challenge to Change

November 7, 2017 - 4 minutes read

Here’s a joke you might have heard before.

How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb?

Just one.  But the light bulb has to want to change.

I have a problem that’s bothered me for more than twenty years.  My desk is always cluttered. I’ve made enough excuses about this to last a lifetime.

“I know where everything, or almost everything is,” I tell myself, although years ago I found a check for a rather large amount hiding on my desk.  It had been buried there for months.

“That’s just me,” I rationalize. “Lots of people have messy desks.”  True, and lots of us do things we really want to do better.  Excuses don’t improve the situation.

“I’m busy working.  Tidying up every day would take time away from my work.”  Right.  And not having everything in an organized place, takes up a lot more of my time.

So I’m giving myself a two-week challenge. I have until November 21, 2017, to neaten up my workspace.  I’m attaching to this blog a photo of how my desk looks today, and I’ll attach another photo two weeks from now to document my progress.

If I succeed, perhaps you will be inspired to make a change in your life and we will both benefit from my efforts. Accordingly, I challenge you to the following:

  1. Pick one aspect of your life that you want to change. Pick just one, not two, not many.  I certainly would like to neaten up my desk at home, and also everything on my bathroom counter.  But I’m more likely to succeed when I aim to change one thing at a time.
  2. Take full responsibility for the change. Don’t blame the clock, “I don’t have enough time.”  Don’t blame someone else, “Neatening up my desk is something that (fill in the blank) should do.”    I created the clutter.  I am the one who has to remove it.
  3. Set a specific time limit. I don’t know about you, but I always work to deadlines.  No deadline, no work.  I was amazed when a friend of mine in class turned in a term project three weeks early.  That’s not me.  The pressure of a deadline helps me to focus.  Give yourself a specific deadline.
  4. Make a public announcement, at least to a few of your friends or coworkers. You don’t have to email or write a blog that could be seen by thousands, but you do have to make a public commitment that will stick.
  5. Resist the temptation to start your list of excuses a few minutes after you make the public commitment. “I have a busy two weeks coming up.”  ‘I need help, and I don’t know anyone who can help me.”  And that sturdy standby, “Just joking.  April Fools!”    No excuses.  Just the fear of possible failure combined with the potential joy of accomplishment.

Next photo to follow in two weeks.

Thanks for your help in pushing me to actually complete the one change I want to make, even if your help is only inside my own mind.  I think it will be effective.  We’ll see.

Alan

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