This morning I woke up to no power in our apartment. For no apparent reason. No big storms or anything. For those of you that don’t know, I live on a little island just off Manhattan. I call it the Little Apple. And it’s for reasons like that that I’m a nerd. Anyway, apparently the feeder cable from Manhattan to the island was down. So no power. No water. Three appointments today and no shower. As if that wasn’t bad enough what REALLY drove me crazy was that I flipped the light switch on EVERY time I walked in a room! I like to think of myself as a pretty conscious individual. I knew the electricity was out. Are my daily habits really so programmed that I can’t remember flipping the switch is pointless? My lack of awareness was really frustrating me. In what other ways do we walk through life this unconscious (notice I used “we” so I could bring you into my psychosis). I tried playing with this and considered it an “in the dark meditation”. Sort of like a walking meditation- doing something ordinary with extreme heightened awareness. I failed miserably.
Then I got thinking. Was it unconsciousness or the power of a habit? More to the point, how do our habits make us behave unconsciously? Research is showing that to create a sustainable change takes 12-18 months. Much longer than conventional wisdom of 90 days. If you haven’t read it, “Change or Die” is an amazing book on the topic of change (on my suggested book list on my website). I particularly love reframing the old way of trying to create change- the three F’s; Force, Fear and Facts to the new way of what actually works- the three R’s: Reframe, Relate and Repeat. A new way of thinking, a community of support and repeating the new habit for 12-18 months.
That’s going to be a long time living in the dark.