I have the hardest time every year choosing what picture to put on our Christmas cards. From the time school starts pretty much until Christmas vacation we simply do and do and do some more. We don’t really take time to document the doing. So the years when I get around to printing Christmas cards I often struggle. The summer pictures are too summery. The spring pictures are too outdated already. The fall pictures look like a ninja or witch, or a What Does the Fox Say, which aren’t very Christmasy.
So, this year I decided to kill two birds with one stone. For Halloween our entire family is dressing up as characters from White Christmas. Then we take a picture at the Halloween party and BAM! Christmas card pictures! The girls are the Haines Sisters, Dan and Magoo are Bob and Phil, and I’m the nosy housekeeper.
We’ve been buying fabric and feather fans for weeks and now, and the church Halloween party is just a couple of days away. I’ve been getting more organized, thanks to the fabulous Power of Moms, and I’m pretty much on schedule with this project. Today is the day to sew.
But I find that since I know I need to sew today, it’s the last thing I want to do. In fact, I’m Grumble-Sewing. Sew a seam. Growl a little. Pull out some pins. Sigh.
I am sitting at the table surrounded by gorgeous blue clouds of fabric and wonderful sewing machines that I’m blessed enough to own. I’m creating something amazing that I really want to create because I somehow convinced my entire family to dress up as characters from my favorite Christmas movie for Halloween, and I’m whining.
Have you ever done this? Have you ever found yourself whining internally or externally because you have to do something that you technically really love and that you chose to do but that suddenly when it’s time to do it, it feels like a chore?
Ugh. I have to read my book club book.
Ugh. I have to pick out an outfit for my date night.
Ugh. I have to sew Halloween costumes.
Ugh. I have to make dinner.
Ugh. I have to walk upstairs and sing Wanda a song for bedtime.
I love reading, getting dressed up, sewing, cooking, and spending time with my kids. But there’s something about a deadline or a sense of necessity that squash-slams my attitude.
However, noticing how annoying I was being, I was able to turn my day around by changing a few things:
1. Make a mental list of why you love what you’re doing – Today as I was sewing, I tried to remember why I love this hobby. I made a mental list.
-I get to make something beautiful.
-My kids love it.
-It makes me feel creative.
-I love finding cool new ways to put pieces together.
-It’s one of the few things I do that gets recognition from other people . (It’s like grown-up show and tell.)
2. Watch your wording – Whenever I chatted with someone, I was careful about how I talked about what I was doing. Instead of saying, “I have to sew costumes today,” I said, “I get to sew costumes today.” It helps to think of the task as a privilege, rather than a burden. I should never forget that I chose how I spend my time.
3. Take breaks – So instead of pushing through with my usual sewing sweatshop, a marathon process that makes sewing extremely unfun, I broke it up by doing other tasks like cleaning and grocery shopping. That way sewing was the recreational activity I could return to in little chunks and actually enjoy it.
I find that this process works even for tasks I don’t actually love. If I make a mental list of things I love about mopping (the smell of the soap, the way the floor looks and feels when I’m done, the game I play where I break the floor up into shapes and scrub them one at a time), talk about it like I’m lucky to have a floor to mop, and reward myself with a little break when I’m done the kitchen, mopping is less of a suck.
How do you motivate yourself to do the things you hate or remind yourself that you actually love the things on your schedule?