When you do the SAME THING expecting DIFFERENT results.

Here’s what I did about it.

I have always wanted to be a great gardener. And in my mind, I have one of the most needed strengths: discipline. 🕶️ Gardening is hard work! You get it.

Every April, I sit at my kitchen table, drooling over seed catalogs, picking out all of the beautiful veggies I’m going to grow. When they arrive, I work meticulously to start each seed off right, giving them plenty of warmth, sun, and water in the sunroom. And then in July (kidding! Vermont joke!), it’s transplanting time. Into the 3 raised beds they go. 

This has been my rhythm for the past 4 summers. All for 2 bell peppers, a handful of cherry tomatoes, and 2 butternut squashes. What bounty! 

Is it just me or is it safe to say my garden is being an arse? 

Okay, fine. It’s not its fault. If I’m completely honest: the location is the arsehole. Not the garden. It doesn’t get enough sunlight and I’ve known this since year 1 when we built the boxes. This is the shadow side of that discipline strength I was talking about. A relentless feeling that just maybe it will turn out differently this time.

Cue the quote that everyone thinks Einstein said: 

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

So yesterday it finally dawned on me: If I did not MOVE the raised beds TODAY, next April will roll around and I will do the same thing for year 5. Because turns out I don’t make great decisions when all I want is some sunshine and to feel dirt under my nails. I decided to give my April S.A.D. self some help:

Bye bye bad location! I literally can’t plant there. 

This, my friends, is called Choice Architecture. I set myself up for success by creating an environment (aka no possible way to plant seeds) that will get me a more favorable outcome (aka no frustration). 

This idea is part of Nudge Theory, which behavioral economists love talking about. According to this article: Changing the context in which people make choices can make new and desired behaviors easier to adopt.”  A few examples:

  • Creating retirement plans that are opt-out instead of opt-in
  • Taking a different route to work that avoids your favorite coffee place if you want to save $
  • Telling a friend you’ll give them a ride to your fitness class in the morning

Not rocket science. That’s the point. It’s this simplicity that makes it so powerful.

And now I get to do something more fun with my time. It’s not the end of my gardening dream – I can try a new location in my front yard. Or help a friend plant a garden. Or take a gardening class. But I no longer have to keep setting myself up for failure. 

Now I kick it over to you:

What is something in your life you’re doing over and over again expecting different results? And what would happen if you did something different?

I’d love to hear @coach_lins

Oh, and did you see my Guide for Dreaming Big & Actually Making it Happen