Hitting the restart button is not an easy thing to do. Life just keeps on happening and before you know it, it’s summertime again, or your birthday again, or the oh-my-god-i’ve-been-at-the-same-job-i-hate-for-two-years realization sets in.
One of the easiest ways to hit restart is to just up and fucking move. Throw your shoes in a U-haul, flip off the neighbors who always complained about your music level, and out you go. (No but really, on my very last night at my condo the poop stank walked over and complained about my nominally volumed music. Good riddance, jackweed.) Obviously, I had the pleasure of moving for the 19,000th time this weekend, and I must say, I think I have this moving thing down. Of course it would not have been as easy without the fantastic band of friends I’ve somehow managed not to piss off over the years, and for them I’m ridiculously grateful. Youz kids are the best.
Now that I’m staring at a new ceiling, my dog is learning the smells of a new abode, and my internet connection is intact, I have some time to think about this whole process and why it is so wonderfully cleansing to move, hit restart, and evaluate the circumstances. Hell, I even have new bed sheets AND duvet cover. I’m really getting my shit together people.
The thing about us (by us I mean humans, which I’m assuming you are. Unless you are a parakeet who learned how to read, in which case HOLY SHIT can I meet you??) is we are creatures of habit. We love our routines, predictability and knowing how familiar things function. This can be a very good thing, as some life-isms need to happen over and over again, such as bathing. Please go ahead and continue to bathe routinely.
But I learned a new-to-me term the other day from our company’s marketing manager. You marketing nerds are going to laugh at me but HEY I wasn’t a marketing major, I found this enlightening. So whenever we are putting together email communications for our clients, he loves it when I write something weird that our customers wouldn’t be used to. Basically he thinks it’s great when I hit them in the face with a 2×4 (I had him read that, to which he said, “Joni, that is NOT true, delete that.” Notice how I haven’t deleted it and it’s now in your brain that I hit my clients with 2×4’s).
Whenever I 2×4 ‘em, he’ll look up from the paper I presented and say something along the lines of “Awesome, it’s a pattern interrupt. Run it.” A pattern interrupt is apparently a hell of a strategy for marketers, because people and parakeets of the world are so used to the same advertising messages that it just becomes a bunch of noise to try and avoid. The pattern interrupt gets their attention – they see, hear, look at something differently because it IS different from all the other messaging they are used to.
Think of companies like Geico. While we are all sick of it now, that camel running around the office asking everyone what day it is was pretty damn genius. When was the last time you saw a camel in your cubicle forest? Or a talking one ever? And was there any possible way you would have thought the first time you saw it that a camel was stoked about hump day? Doubtful.
Same goes with the new residence. Everything is different and my pattern has totally been interrupted. I had to figure out where the new onramp was to get to work today and sleepy Joni almost missed it. I didn’t know where I put my coffee in the mass of unpacking over the weekend, as the cupboard it used to live in no longer is accessible to me. So my dumb unplan-ful ass spent a good 10 minutes trying to hunt down my coffee, which of course my thoughtful roommate had placed next to my coffee maker because she clearly has more brains than I do.
My point is, this is a fantastic opportunity to develop new patterns. The position of this new house is different than my last place, and WOOHOO, the backyard faces west and we get the most ridiiiiculous sunsets overlooking the California coast. Ok there are some trees in the way, but if you stand on top of a table you can see the water so I’m just gonna go ahead and consider it beachfront property.
Just like the house, I have the opportunity for a new position and perspective. Personally, I have set some super high goals for this year. So far one of the big ones was already obliterated when my jerk of a car decided to nearly blow up and I needed to drop almost 2 G’s into it. However just because I won’t be backpacking in Europe at the end of the summer I still have plenty of other goals that need to get worked on. That book I keep talking about isn’t going to write itself, and while previous manuscripts were stolen or wiped out by a shitty hard drive last year, it’s time to get back to work. And while I have a new office, view, and have found my coffee, the opportunity to develop a new, more productive pattern is better than ever.
Plenty of people have already given up on their New Year’s resolutions. Or dreams for that matter. How can you interrupt your pattern to get a fresh start and get some real progress going? What can you shake up to help you reach some of the goals you always wanted to or just set on January 1st? I mean really, it’s not even March yet.
I realize sometimes when you see the same cars, houses, faces, and offices day in and day out, it’s hard to put on a fresh pair of glasses. You see this is why I lose my sunglasses all the time, it’s because I’m trying to consistently gain a fresh perspective, certainly not because I’m careless or irresponsible…
But when you interrupt your pattern, you don’t view your situation in the same way. You therefore won’t try and solve it the same way either, and can possibly start to get some real results.