This morning I woke up an hour late and in a bad mood. A late bedtime, restless night’s sleep, interruptions through the night, an improperly set alarm….Everything added up to me oversleeping and being grumpy for at least an hour this morning. Then I thought about the post I needed to write for today. What was within my control to turn my day around? Getting coffee. What did I need to get moving? Coffee. Coffee was the answer to wresting back control of the first half hour of the day.
Control: the power to influence or direct our own behavior in the course of events.
Even with a partially consumed cup of cold brew in my hand, I still wanted to crawl back into bed. This morning was not off to a good start. My usual caffeine hack fell short, but still had a slight impact. The next hack was to get moving. Literally. Time to get on the treadmill.
Did I want to get on my treadmill? Nope. Did I want to go to work and do whatever work things needed to be done while I was on a treadmill (I usually save treadmill time for online meetings that don’t require me to do any typing). Absolutely not! Did I want to go back to bed. Yes!!! My head and my Inner Critic argued back and forth for a while. Coffee had helped push the Inner Critic into the corner, but the critic was still taking up too much space and time in my head. It was an absurdly close call between getting on the treadmill and crawling back under my duvet.
What finally tipped the balance, and increased my influence with myself, was that I had habits and intention on my side. One of my daily self-care habits was already firmly in place.
Agile Best Self Principle #3: Build daily self-care habits.
Early on in the 2020 lockdown, I MacGyvered a “treadmill desk.” I knew I needed some way to incorporate movement into the endless Zoom meetings. I took bookshelf plank and perched it on the arms of a 16 year old treadmill with a frayed belt. Several iterations later, the plank for the laptop was sturdy, the frayed belt was realigned, and all the power supplies and microphones were in place. I could start things up with zero friction and no duct tape. Everything was ready to go. These days, getting on the treadmill desk is more automatic than getting in my car and driving, that is how entrenched of a habit my treadmill routine is.
Today, my intention and sheer will power got me through the first 10 minutes of the treadmill walk, and from there on my day started turning around. This was a “fake it until you make it” day. Habits give the Inner Advocate some powerful advantages over the Inner Critic. To set yourself up for success, what daily habits will help you gain control over your day?
Copyright © 2021 Michaele Gardner and Brian Hackerson