Changing AttitudesAUTHOR: Francisco Sáez
“If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.” ~ Maya Angelou
Whenever a FacileThings user cancels his subscription, or simply doesn’t renew it, I try to find out the reasons. If they answer my email and the reason is something that is not working properly, or it’s not easily understood or they just don’t like it, it becomes an opportunity for me to improve the service and avoid that other users end up with the same (bad) experience. However, one of the most usual answers I get is something like “using the application meant doing things in a different way than I am used to”.
That is a very frustrating answer for me because provoking changes in people’s productivity habits is precisely one of our goals.
It’s as if you want to get in shape and then give up saying that this meant going out running every day (or cycling, or swimming or going to the gym…), something that you are not used to. Shaping your mind, as well as shaping your body, requires effort and time.
The main reason why someone looks for a new personal organization system is because everything he has tried before hasn’t worked very well. I know that still it’s very difficult to abandon old habits and start implementing new ones, even if they have been proven to be efficient. And obviously, I know that GTD doesn’t have to be the ideal solution for everyone.
But I think that when you are trying to improve your personal efficiency you need to assume that having to change some other habits is very likely. You have to be ready to change attitudes.
Nir Eyal, author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, assures that the main factor for building a new habit is the frequency in which you perform the new behaviors, and the second most important is the change of attitude in regards to your behaviors. So for a new behavior to end up being a routine it has to happen with a significant frequency and it also has to be perceived as useful.
Therefore, if you are going to try to be more productive or if you want to be in shape, lose weight, quit smoking or any other thing you believe you need to do, you need to invest time in new behaviors. To try improving any aspect of your life and abandon trying just because you need to change something is ridiculous. Sure you need to change something, you are looking for your best version!
Invest time. The more time you invest, the greater the perception of usefulness will be. It is a psychological phenomenon known as escalation of commitment that has many variations (I talked about one of them not long ago, effort justification). The escalation of commitment describes a wrong way of making decisions—it means making irrational decisions based on rational decisions from the past or to justify decisions that have already been made—, but if you are aware of the phenomenon, you can use it in a conscious way in your favor, and achieve the changes you need.
If you are doing something new that you know will be useful, be constant, repeat those behaviors that will transform the new in routine over and over again, even if goes against your current habits or believes. It’s OK to leave if it is not as beneficial as you expected. But don’t give up just because it’s taking you some effort.