This week I challenged myself to be 10 minutes early to everything.
I must have subconsciously known this was going to be a hard challenge for me, because while my conscious self would argue I chose this challenge without thinking, my subconscious self would argue that I somehow strategized, because not only was my intercultural and gender communication class cancelled all week but on Thursday afternoon I left for Denver for fall break, meaning that I had less time commitments this week than on average.
And even with that said, I have to admit… I failed. Miserably.
On Tuesday I had gone a whole two days trying to be on time, honestly trying, with good intentions and all, but for the majority of the classes and meetings I had, I was either late or just barely on time.
I was discouraged, anxious, and a little bit hopeless. For a brief second I thought to myself: I’ve always been bad at time management, so maybe that’s just the way it is.
But then I thought back to something my art professor said earlier that day. After one of my classmates asked me what my challenge was this week, we all got into a conversation about students being late to class. Somewhere in the conversation my professor joined in and shared some insight. She said, “you know a lot of instructors have a hard time with students coming in late to their classes, it’s kind of like a sign of disrespect.” I knew she wasn’t being passive aggressive and the comment wasn’t directed towards me, but it sure hit home.
I don’t mean to be disrespectful when I show up a few minutes late, but I realized that it doesn’t matter what my intentions are, it only matters how my actions are perceived.
So this subtle epiphany dawned on me and on Tuesday night I decided I needed to do something, because for one I didn’t want to write a blog about failing, I didn’t want to be labeled as disrespectful, and I also wanted to prove to myself that I’m not a hopeless case.
With the remaining one and a half days I had left for this challenge, I’m proud to say I successfully made it 10 minutes early to one appointment, three classes and two meetings.
A very small step in the very long process of breaking a bad habit.
I think it’s scary to admit you’re in the wrong and it’s also scary to try and change a habit. This week for me was about those two things, and now that it’s all out on the table, I know a little bit more about myself and I know what I need to work on.
So, do you have bad habit… or maybe it’s just a habit to you, but do others perceive it as bad? Be honest with yourself and bring to the surface some issues you’ve been pushing back down into your gut for some time now.
What is it that you need to work on?