January was all about making time for connection, and my challenge was to spend fifteen minutes per day reaching out. I was amazed at how difficult this tiny habit was to achieve. Honestly, I’d say I had about a 50% success rate.
That said, in no way did I feel this experiment was a failure. According to my habits coach husband, it takes not two weeks, but more like 66 days to solidify a new habit. So I plan to continue my daily goal of reaching out in the coming months. But, so far, here are a few of my lessons learned:
The Power of Intention
By choosing to make 2019 my year to reconnect, I’ve moved relationships out of the category of problems I keep meaning to get to, and firmly into the category of aspirations I’m actually struggling toward. Even though I haven’t always met my daily goal, setting this intention has kept connection top of mind, and I’ve definitely noticed how this has begun to subtly influence my choices about how I spend my time.
It Isn’t as Easy as It Looks
I’ve been really surprised at how ingrained my habits of hurrying and my fixation on productivity really are. Thinking daily about challenging those well-worn behavioral tracks has laid bare how deep they run, which is an important realization as I move forward with my year-long challenge.
It’s More Rewarding than I Thought
So many small but sweet experiences this month have convinced me that even though focusing on connection goes against the grain, therein lies the gold. I’m standing more firmly than ever on the hope that “it’s the little things…”
Relationship is a Radical Act
Finally, making small and (somewhat) regular attempts to prioritize connection this month has begun to lay bare the extent to which we live in a society structured around disconnection. It seems that everywhere I turn I bump up against yet another cultural norm that makes it easier and more socially acceptable to close off and isolate than to open up and connect. Reaching for relationship and rebuilding community are not just personal development goals, they’re revolutionary undertakings. Tiny acts of aggression against the toxic culture of selfishness in which we’re all unwitting participants.
I’ve begun to think of this project as slowly digging my way out of the prison or our hyper-individualistic culture. And if I can tunnel all the way out, and convince enough people to come with me, it could be the greatest jail break of all time.