How a dead laptop changed my habits

Only a day or two after I launched this website, my computer died. It just stopped working, with no warning, no goodbye, nothing.  Just wouldn't load anymore. Yes my laptop hard drive was gone.

Photos, files, documents and e-books all gone.  The photos and documents were the most upsetting because they could not easily be replaced.  Hours of work had gone, photos and memories no longer saved for posterity, or even to put in a photo book for the kids.

After taking a day or two to get my head around this massive inconvenience and feeling frustrated, angry and upset about the loss of all that work, I decided I needed to take my own advice.

What would I suggest to a client? I thought. 

The answer was, "take this change and use it to your advantage".

Turn an upset into a setup.

Right, so what does that mean I hear you ask?

It means, I decided to use this change (unplanned and unwanted though it was) to do things differently. To change my habits. To alter the way I do things.

Now, a laptop dying is not really the end of the world and mostly is just a major inconvenience and pain in the you-know-what.  But, the concept holds true whatever the change, big or small, positive or negative.

When we experience a change of some sort, we can CHOOSE to use it as an opportunity to change a habit or create a new habit.

So, for me this meant I am now (going to be) super diligent about saving everything to the cloud and backing up on an external hard drive all the time instead of just doing it 'when I remember', which admittedly was not very often!

But it needn't be a potentially negative experience that acts as a prompt.  A positive change can be just as powerful.  And it needn't be a big change either.  Small incidental transitions in our lives can be just as powerful as large ones in encouraging change in other areas.

Some examples of transitions that can prompt you to change your habits or start new ones.

  1. a new car: used to encourage you to stop eating in your car, or more likely, to stop the kids from eating in the car!
  2. a new workplace: used to eat healthy, quit drinking or smoking, reduce your working hours, start walking to work.
  3. daylight saving starting or ending: using the 'extra' hour for more 'me time' or more family time, to read more, to write, to exercise.
  4. a holiday or vacation, or returning from one: used to start actively relaxing, or exercising, eating healthier, walking more, going to bed earlier, waking earlier.
  5. a new neighbour moves in: used to increase socialising, sense of community, actively developing a new friendship, helping another, starting a babysitting group, starting or joining a book group.

And these are just a few examples!

Of course, there is also the most well-known trigger for change - a new year!  Where many of us make resolutions about what habit and behaviour shifts we will make this year.  But so often they don't work as it's too much pressure on ourselves all at one time; too many adjustments to manage at once.

Instead, think about the possibility that the behaviour change that works for you could be a tiny thing.  Insignificant to anyone else but a catalyst for you.  Like my new resolve to back up all my technology - insignificant to everyone else, but an important habit change for me.

So, what will you do?  Is there a habit you are keen to start, or break?  Can you identify something you can use as a trigger to kick-start this new way of doing things?  As a hint, daylight savings change-over is very soon... maybe that could be a prompt for you?

Remember, it doesn't have to be a major life shift - something small is just as powerful;  if it triggers you to make a positive change in your life, that's all that matters!

If this post has got you thinking, and you'd like to make a change in your life, you may want my free E-Book, "6 Days to a Life filled with more Joy, Hope and Love".  Just enter your email address on the right hand side, and you can download it immediately.