Gretchen Rubin

Today I Overcame One of My Annoying Habits. Here’s How.

Today I Overcame One of My Annoying Habits. Here’s How.

One of my worst habits -- or, I should say, one of my most self-annoying habits -- is that I hate to make appointments.

I dislike using the phone. I dislike adding commitments to my calendar. I dislike getting my haircut or my teeth cleaned. Etc. So I find it very, very difficult to make myself pick up the phone and call to make appointments.

I know this perfectly well about myself. So while I was on vacation in Kansas City last week, I vowed that I would use the Strategies of Monitoring, Scheduling, and Clarity to make a bunch of necessary appointments.

In my book Better Than Before, I describe how I use  "Power Hour." Each weekend, I make a list of chores that I've been putting off, and I dedicate an hour to completing them -- but Power Hour doesn't work for appointments, because most places are only open during the week.

So I used a special installment of my weekly "Power Hour" to get myself to tackle this dreaded task. At 6:30 a.m. this morning, I made a list of all the appointments I needed to make. And at 10:00 a.m., when I figured that everyplace would be open, I called.

Within the hour, I made appointments to:

-- get nasal flu vaccines for my daughters and me (I've tried to do this before, but they kept running out)

-- get my hair cut

--get a dentist appointment

-- get an eye doctor's appointment for my daughter (this required two calls, and I was very impressed with myself that I made the two calls, back to back)

--get an annual check-up for my daughter

Well, I must say, this list doesn't look terribly impressive, now that I type it up, but it took every ounce of my strength and habit-formation knowledge to do it.

Phew! Funnily enough, I dread making the appointments more than keeping them -- even something like going to the dentist.

Those little tasks, left undone, drain my energy -- and even though I know that, still I delay.

It does come in handy that I wrote a whole book, Better Than Before, that covers how to form habits, how to fight procrastination, how to adjust for myself and my quirks, etc. But still: physician, heal thyself. Even if I know what to do, I still have to do it.

How about you? Do you struggle to complete some simple, ordinary task that other people seem to find easy?

 

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