Ever since I can remember, I’ve had a conscientiousness problem. I find myself for instance in a room of the house, wondering what I was originally planning to do there and grasping wildly around for context. Putting things down and forgetting where I left them. Locking my keys in the car. Missing meetings unless I have a physical alarm on my phone that reminds of them (and even then often needing multiple reminders to ensure that I don’t get engrossed in what I’m doing after the first one).
As I’ve grown and changed myself in innumerable ways, this has also been an aspect of my personality that I have hardly managed to make a dent in. Sure there are a few bright spots. I’ve managed to make huge strides in the goal directed part of my conscientiousness, significantly reducing my procrastination and becoming confident in accomplishing large and complex projects, becoming productive, focused, and directed.I’ve managed to change the dial on my “cleanliness” regulator to keep a much cleaner space. I’ve gotten better about putting every appointment in my phone calendar and carrying it with me everywhere, and I keep an extra car key in my wallet so locking my keys in the car is no longer an issue. But the basic “in the moment situational awareness” that is a huge part of what is commonly called common-sense has been stubbornly resistant to change.
Starting today, I’m embarking on a 30-day challenge to try to change that. Every morning I’ll be doing some offline deliberate practice of conscientiousness in different situations, like leaving my car, entering a room, or going to a meeting. I’ll be focusing acutely on what awareness feels like, and working to deepen and enhance my own understanding of awareness through techniques like focusing, anchoring, and association. I’ll also be focusing on some identity change work on any parts of myself that may cling to that idea of being an unconscientious person. I’ll be checking in here every Thursday to give an update on how it goes. Wish me luck!