You Can’t Change Me Overnight




This was a comment my fiancé made to me the other day. We just received a free shoe rack—extremely helpful as we have no closet space for shoes and they are usually under the bed.  And under the bed was fine but it didn’t work out the best as I have a cat who apparently likes to play with shoes.  I’d find a shoe up at the top of the bed and the mate would be at the bottom of the bed.  When you’re in a hurry, this was not helpful.  Well, my future in-laws are in the process of selling their house and so are trying to downsize on some things they have.  So we’ve been “shopping” through their cast offs and taking what we can (at their say so by the way) and they just so happened to have a shoe rack.

I took it home and set it up with shoes we regularly wear—he has 4 and I have 7.  My cat decided that he wasn’t too happy with it and spent his time sniffing it and trying to get on it.  Thankfully the shoes on top of it hindered him and he has now stopped trying to jump on it. Great right? I’m no longer tripping over shoes in the bedroom or trying to find them and it was free! Who doesn’t like free things?

Of course, two days later, my fiancé is looking for his flip-flops–one is under the bed and the other is under the small table we have our fan on. As he’s searching, I “casually” ask him if it’s on the shoe rack where it belongs.  Of course I know the answer, he knows the answer and he knows that I know the answer, but he still blusters about “of course it was on there. I don’t know how it got moved.” Or something to that effect.  After he finds it, he makes the comment “you can’t change me overnight.  I never had a shoe rack before!”

This applies to so many things in life.  (Okay not the shoe rack part) Eating healthy when you normally eat junk?  Never exercised a day in your adult life and now want to exercise 5 days a week?  Paying off debt instead of racking it up? All these habits take time to change.  And yes, once in a while you’re going to find that your flip-flops are under the bed instead of on the shoe rack.  But it is okay; eventually they’ll stay on the shoe rack.  It’s not fair to yourself to think that you can change overnight and if you think that, you might end up never-changing.  Why? Because you’ll see only your mistakes and think that you can’t do it, you cannot change this habit you have.  But, in my experience, if you make a mistake, recognize it, learn from it and (most importantly) move on from it—you’ll be able to break those habits and install new ones!

And as an important side note, if you are helping someone change a habit, please don’t harp on the mistakes they make.  Or if you do, apologize and stress the good things they have done.  I’ve been guilty of this but I know how it makes me feel, so I try very hard not to harp on others.  For instance, my fiancé’s flip-flops were in our bedroom this morning but I didn’t say anything.  Just started picking up some other things and he put them away himself.


32 Comments on “You Can’t Change Me Overnight”

  1. IdaBaker says:

    This so true, and people don’t often think about it, expecting results right now. Habits take a while to develop, so your patience is probably very welcome. 🙂

    • bogofdebt says:

      I’m really impatient but I try to be patient 😉 I know that it took me years to develop habits and I know I can’t do a change overnight–I’ve tried disastrously many a times to change over night. But by slowly changing, I don’t miss the old habit and the new habit starts to develop.

  2. Michelle says:

    Love this post! Very true. I tell myself that I will/can do things (such as working out) but let’s be for real, it can’t happen that fast.

    • bogofdebt says:

      Thanks! And yes-when I first started working out I was telling myself I was going to do it every work day and I’d be awesome and fit so fast. And than life happened–I felt tired, I had too much too do, etc and when I missed a work out, I would stop. Now I miss a work out and take it in stride.

  3. My wife and I are 3 years into our Debt Management Program, and we’re *still* working on changing our financial habits to where they need to be. Slow progress……but we’ll get there!

    • bogofdebt says:

      The important part is sticking with it even when it’s tough! I used to twirl my hair until I was 16–I was 21 by the time I “stopped”. I still sometimes start to twirl it again.

  4. Money Beagle says:

    It takes a while to change your habits. Just like whenever you change a password, you inevitably use the old one at least once or twice before the new one is the one you enter automatically. Happens to me every 3 months at work when they force a change 🙂

    • bogofdebt says:

      Or when you continue to write last year’s year? I do this for about 6 months off and on but when I finally get used to writing the new one down? They change the year on me again!

  5. My husband has left his pajamas on the floor every morning for 7 years. This post was a good reminder to stop bitching at him about it =) At this point, it’s probably never going to change anyways…..

    Have a great day!!!!!

    • bogofdebt says:

      I just picked up the flip-flops again! And yes, sometimes you just have to accept that they aren’t going to do something you want 😉 I do like picking things up and waiting for him to search for it. I get a minor joy out of the grumbles as he asks me where it is and I say “in it’s place” and it turns out to be the ONE place he didn’t look. It’s something we both can laugh over.

  6. queenlbee says:

    I like the shoe rack as an analogy for changing things overnight. Sometimes I just like things the way they are even if I know they need to change. 😦 Great post!

    • bogofdebt says:

      I am very reisitant to change so I have a lot of knowledge about this 😉 It actually took 4 people to convince me to apply for my current job. I had gotten comfertable where I was at. I’m glad of course that I did eventually make that leap but I was a nervous wreck!

  7. Alice says:

    Awesome analogy! It takes time to make a change – even a good change.

  8. Yeah this applies a lot to what I wrote yesterday…I think that’s why I was feeling such guilty about being cheap…er frugal. 🙂

  9. LOL… my debt is my shoe rack. It’s hard, but we’re slowly making progress.

    As for the fitness/eating habits analogy? Totally right! I started running weighing 200+ pounds, and running half a block then walking. This summer I finished a half Ironman triathlon. How? 5 years of building new habits, one baby step at a time.

    Eventually, he’ll put his flip flops on the rack. 🙂

    • bogofdebt says:

      The funny part is? It’s almost only his flip flops he doesn’t put back on the shoe rack! And he was running for 20 minutes at a time last year when he’d never run a step in his life. Then he slacked off over the winter and has yet to get back into it–but he’s starting Insanity with me next week (on his own “I want to do this”) and starting to eat healthier.

  10. The BF isn’t afraid to harp on me when I don’t get things right the first time or 2nd or 3rd…it’s true though, you can’t change someone overnight and it took me awhile but I have grown accustomed to his ways and he has to mine. It’s important to remember that, especially in a relationship!

    • bogofdebt says:

      Definitely! He knows that I have no patience so he reminds me to have it but will also accept it at times. And he’s pretty good at guessing when he should accept it over reminding me to have it.

  11. Good for you for not nagging him. He will do much better at making little changes (as we all do) if you are encouraging, not annoying! It makes me smile to see that other couples have little tiny problems like this, too! Jeff and I don’t fight about big things like money or parenting, but we will butt heads on little things like leaving the toothpaste cap off! Drives me batty….but I’m not perfect, so I’ll just try to stop picturing bugs crawling into my open toothpaste tube!

  12. belowhermeans says:

    Awesome. I’ve been thinking about this a lot because pilates was SO HARD to do early in the morning before work a month and a half ago but I’ve been making such a habit of it that it’s the few rest days where I don’t go that feel stranger.

  13. kathleen says:

    The last paragraph was my favorite — it’s important to stay away from nagging!

  14. lkrant says:

    It may help to get rid of the extra or extraneous stuff so you can focus on what is important. I am talking shoes and habits.

    • bogofdebt says:

      I actually did go through my shoes! Those are ones I wear on a weekly basis depending on what I am wearing to work or if I”m bumming out at home. Anything that I hadn’t worn in a month, I put in my “office” in a box. IF I don’t wear them by the end of the summer, they are getting donated.

  15. People don’t change over night but if they were on the shoe rack he wouldn’t be looking for them. I can’t stand when my girlfriend asks me an obvious question like that because if they were there why would I be looking. It is a little thing though and not that big in the big picture.

    • bogofdebt says:

      But I’m sure you do things she’s rolling her eyes about 😉 I know that I ask some obvious questions too–but that’s part of being in a relationship. You just know that they have things that annoy you and you’re pretty sure that you have traits that annoy them 😉

  16. I’m starting to realize that it’s a trial and error with most things in life.

    I, too, am also impatient, and it only recently dawned on me that I usually won’t get things right the first time. We do things that best way we know how, but change it as we go. It takes time, not only to change our habits, but to also realize why something is not working and how we can improve.

    • bogofdebt says:

      Very true-for the longest time I abhored change and I am still workinig on it. I’ve realized I dislike change because it means I’m not in control and it scares me. Which may be silly but realizing it was a huge step for me.

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