A few months ago I was doing some sort of mundane housework-type task when this thought randomly came to me: “I don’t have to do this if I don’t want to.” It was honestly a little bit startling. In fact, my first instinct was to fight back. “Well of course I need to do this” and “it’s my job” and “somone’s gotta take care of it!” And then it came again… “You can give yourself permission not to do it if you don’t want to.”
Over the next few weeks
The thought continued to come up here and there as I found myself spending a lot of time doing things I don’t necessarily enjoy very much. And honestly, I planned to write a big list of those things, but the only specific thing I can think of right now is the crust on my bread.
We had friends over for the Super Bowl last weekend and we had cold cut sandwiches for one of the food choices. I don’t usually eat sandwiches because I’m honestly not that fond of bread, but I was feelin’ it that day. So I cut my sandwich in half (because that’s how I like it), started eating it, and when I got to the crust I paused…. I realized that I’d been conditioned my whole life to eat the crust, but I didn’t really like it, so I just decided to eat everything else and throw the crust away. And you know what? It was empowering!
Now be careful…
Don’t use this idea as an excuse. We’re adults, so we obviously have things we need to do that we don’t necessarily love. Don’t go telling your spouse, “hey! I read this awesome article about living my life the way I want, so I’ve decided not to fold laundry or pay our bills.” I’ll come back to haunt you in your sleep if you twist my words. I’m also not suggesting that we live wastefully, gluttonously, or without regard to the other people in our life. What I’m offering to you is that when it comes to the things we do, EVEN the things we don’t like to do, there are ways to make those things line up better with the way we want to live.
Let’s look at some examples
â€¢Problem: I don’t like taking the effort to get online each month to pay my utility bill.
â€¢Solution: Set up an automatic payment plan. Then there’s one less thing to think about and one less thing to do! You can even take it a step further by setting up an automatic monthly debit if you use a budgeting system.
â€¢Problem: I hate doing so many dishes after they’ve piled up in the sink.
â€¢Solution: Do your dishes right when you finish using them. I’m not kidding, do it RIGHT AWAY. Communicate with your family about how important it is to you so they can help support you by doing theirs too. (I know, I know. Easier said than done)
â€¢Problem: I feel stressed in the morning when we’re rushing to get out of the house on time.
â€¢Solution: Go to bed and wake up earlier. Prepare more the night before. Let your kids experience natural consequences if they forget to do their homework or didn’t pack their lunch like you instructed.
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There are SO many ways to do the things that we do every day. Between the way I grew up, the expectations I felt were put on me, and then the expectations I subconsciously put on myself, I guess I eventually formed internal rules for the way I operate. Some of the rules are helpful, like when I tell myself “you can’t fall asleep unless you brush your teeth first.” But others, like “don’t stop to play with your kids until all the housework is done,” arenâ€™t necessarily as useful.
So how do we decide?
With so many things constantly pulling at our time, how do we decide what things to keep and what things to change? Here’s my favorite question of all time.
“Does this serve me?”
Do you go out once a week with friends because it feels your cup? Good! Keep going. Are you reading a book to learn how to sleep train your baby because you know it’ll help with their wellness and solve your fatigue? Sounds worth it to me. Do you get your nails done every couple of weeks because it helps you feel beautiful? You go, girlfriend! If the things you do are serving you, even if you have to sacrifice for them, I say keep it up.
You do YOU
What works for one person is not necessarily going to work for the next person. The things mentioned above may serve “Kellie” but may not serve “Becca” depending on her time, money, and most of all, how she thinks about those things. Becca might want to spend time with her husband every evening, prefer to listen to podcasts instead reading books, and like her nails all natural. And that’s what’s AMAZING; YOU get to find what works for you and for your family.
I have a deep conviction that life is meant to be enjoyable. It’s meant to be fun! So I challenge you this week. Find one thing in your life that isn’t serving you and COMMENT ABOUT IT ON THIS POST! You can either tell me about how you want to fix it, what you’ve already done to fix it, or ask me for an idea! It would mean the world if you’d share and I’d love to brainstorm with you.
Here’s to another week of love, light, and change.