I recently listened to a podcast episode entitled Nudge from the NPR TED Radio Hour. It’s about the gentle ways we push ourselves toward making positive changes. A deceptively simple nudge, as the experts call it, can help us manage our health, our kids and our life aspirations. Did you know that kids are 70% more likely to eat apples if the apples are sliced and put in a plastic bag versus just handing them the whole apple? Why? Because it’s easier for kids to grab a slice than bite into the whole thing. And did you know that just by stopping to think about what smoking is actually doing to your body on a physical level, people are more likely to quit smoking longer than they would with just a nicotine patch? It’s that little nudge toward mindfulness and that small nudge toward grabbing the cut apple slices that lead to positive changes.
But even with a nudge, you can still feel stuck, right? Unable to make even the smallest changes and often paralyzed by fear of not being perfect. Thinking on that, the part of the episode that stood out to me the most was the segment with Reshma Saujani, founder of the tech organization Girls Who Code. She said women often need bigger nudges than men. She talked about how young girls are taught perfection and young boys are taught bravery. Parents are more likely to let their daughter quit a sport or activity she isn’t good at but push their son to try harder until he’s the best. Girls are taught to play it safe, be quiet and avoid failure while boys are taught to be brave, assertive and face challenges head on. Yes, some of this is changing with my generation (and I LOVE it!!) but those childhood lesson definitely follow us into adulthood.
She cited an HP report that found that men apply for positions where they only meet about 60% of the qualifications whereas women wait to apply for jobs until they meet 100% of the qualifications…so you can imagine how many thousands of jobs are either left unfilled but qualified women who were waiting to be perfect or filled by men who, well, weren’t perfect by any standards. At the time of her TED Talk, there were upwards of 600,000 open jobs in computing and tech that could be filled by women…but the women needed a confidence boost to apply. They needed a nudge.
The experts in the episode shared some great tips on how to lean into a nudge, create them for yourself and embrace every small positive change they bring. Of course, I found so much synergy between our fitness journey and mindset, especially with these 3 tips –
1. Let the challenge excite you – Stay the course and redouble your efforts when things get tough.
2. Trust the ‘in between’ time – Let where you are right now inspire you to make positive changes.
3. Give yourself the gift of done – Just finish and don’t worry about it being perfect. Finish your resume, submit your book idea to a publisher, complete that job application. Making big changes is hard but it’s much easier with a gentle nudge in the right direction. Sometimes the “right direction” is just finishing and seeing what comes of it.
As Reshma explained, when women can move past the need to be perfect and work through their limiting beliefs about perfection, they can nudge themselves toward positive changes. Like I always say – establishing a handful of healthy habits and letting the rest of your life fall into place through mindfulness.
Every nudge, no matter how small, is a step closer to reaching your goals through progress and not perfection.
You can find the full episode anywhere you listen to podcasts, or here at this link.
After you listen, tweet me @trinperkins your biggest takeaway, or comment below!