Without my contacts, I’m blind. I can’t see the big E on the eye chart. Most times, I don’t even know which wall it is on. And my optometrist is bald and has a peach colored office. Without his white coat, I can’t tell where he is sitting.
Throughout my life, it’s been a weakness I’ve had to make accommodations for.
Fast forward to about two years ago. I decided it was important to floss my teeth every day and wanted to start doing that. I tried everything I could think of and had some success, but never more than a few days at a time.
About two months ago, I started studying my daily habits to identify the things I was automatically doing. I quickly realized that immediately after I woke up, I washed my face, put my contacts in, brushed my teeth, and took my prescription. I do this every day, in this order, without exception. I also take my contacts out immediately before bedtime, without exception, and without any subsequent routine.
An idea popped in my head. What if I linked brushing and flossing my teeth to taking my contacts out at night?
I wrote a note on my bathroom mirror to remind me. I put the floss right next to my contact case. And I decided to do that routine every single day.
It’s been about six weeks, and I haven’t missed a single day. After years of effort, that’s a big deal for me.
I never forget. Occasionally I remember but don’t feel like it. I have to use willpower on those days, but it’s mostly automatic now. All because I embraced my weakness and built a system around what I already do to manage it.
I’ll bet you have a ‘weakness’ you’re already managing too. Maybe you’re blind like me and wear glasses or contacts. Maybe you wear hearing aids. Maybe you’re diabetic and have to check your blood sugar. Maybe you take medicine for high blood pressure or allergies.
I’ll bet these habits are already ingrained in you. You handle them automatically, almost without thought.
And I’ll bet there’s something you want to do every day, but haven’t figured out how. Now you know. All you have to do is pair the two. It works, and then you can keep building on it.
Your weakness can be the source of your power to change.
Try something, and let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d love to hear about your success.