When it comes to upgrading your habits, timing is everything.
Why I love moving (and you should too)
I just spent the weekend moving our family from the home we lived in for half a decade to a new place on the other side of town. It wasn’t a little thing either. Nope. It was the whole enchilada. Here’s a synopsis of what I experienced…
- Processed the idea of a move with my family for about a year
- Found a place that made sense
- Packed for weeks
- Felt like an awful human consumer for having way too much stuff
- Hid from garbage collectors, embarrassed because of how much we threw out
- Bragged that because we purged so much that we’d be done moving in half a day
- Freaked out that six humans and a dog can’t get moved anywhere in half a day
- Hyperventilated when movers arrived late
- Mad that I missed about a week’s worth of life because of this move
- Discovered I am in the midst of life – all the time – even when I move
- Laughed (a lot) with friends showing up to lend a hand
- Wondered why the back of such a young man could hurt so much ;)
- Noticed I walked 28,991 steps up 50+ flights in one day
- Spent another full day just getting the resemblance of a home
- Realizing it’ll be 90 days before I really feel in any sort of rhythm again
I can see some of you nodding. You can relate, right? The experience of moving is so common it can feel cliché. But, it was more than that.
It was also a golden moment. Or, at least it could be…
Why humans don’t change much.
That said, there is a rare but universally acknowledged exception to the rule-of-not-changing. It goes like this…
In times of significant life transition, we all have a window of opportunity to do life in a new way.
Think of the phenomenon like this: We all have problems we’re trying to solve in life. Everything from where to get groceries to how to stay active to which coffee shop you hit up on your way to work.
Once we find a basic routine to deal with these very human and often pedestrian dilemmas, many of us tend to settle in. In time, we can become old dogs doing our tricks. We stick with them because they work well enough (at least for the most part).
That all shifts though when we stumble into the unfamiliar.
When faced with the need to find new ways to solve old problems, we become willing to forge unfamiliar paths. And it just happens to turn out that the most predictable milestones that invite unfamiliar routines are things like…
- Getting married
- Having a kid (or)
- Moving to a new part of town
When we change our context like that, we’re open to finding new rhythms, at least for a little while. Once the new rhythms get routine, they tend to harden up.
In case you’re wondering, this phenomenon isn’t lost on marketers. Why do you think you got bombarded with Lowe’s and Target coupons the last time you changed your address at the Post Office?
They’re looking to hit us up when the clay is squishy. And, they know there’s a window where things will be less flexible and folks like me will soon be more out of reach.
What I love about this dynamic is it can work in the other direction too. Transitional moments aren’t just about what companies out there can do to me.
It’s also an opportunity for me to hit myself up in fresh and intentional ways.
- Want to take on a new exercise regimen?
- Eager to reset my eating habits?
- Curious what a new daily method could look like if you could wave a magic wand?
Now’s your chance.
In my particular case, the problem is I’m exhausted. My hands feel swollen from lifting heavy boxes. I feel entitled to not do the extra stuff that make a difference for new habits to develop. I want to just kind of sleepwalk for a while… or just sleep.
The window is closing.
But, then I remember what I’m in the middle of. The window is closing. 90 days from now, my new normal will be, well, normal and I’ll be less apt to shift.
The irony is if I really want to change, going all-in right now is what will give me my best (and maybe only) shot.
When I really think about it though, “moving” itself might just be a construct. Can’t I take any 90 day window and decide “I just moved” or “had a baby” or “got married” and mix it up? If the window is closing, why can’t I just open up another new window and go again?
What it comes down to for me is whether I want this thing enough to turn my world upside down… right now. I wonder if this is the real gift of making a move.