We all have a to-do list. Whether it’s stored in our phones, scribbled on paper, or floating around in our minds, there’s always a list of things that we have to (and don’t want to) do. Sometimes it’s filled with big, time-consuming projects like “organize entire house,” and sometimes it’s the tiny little things like “write rent check.” Regardless of the size of the task, a to-do list always seems to be filled with things that we just don’t really feel like doing – obligations.
The crazy thing about these tasks, though, is that even when we’ve completed them, they don’t ever really stop coming. So why should we live every day with a list of things hanging over our head that we don’t want to do? We shouldn’t. I’m not saying to avoid these tasks altogether, because that would cause even bigger issues.
About a year ago I had a little epiphany, and today I wanted to share it with you. Maybe this isn’t a new idea for you, but at the time, this sparked such an awakening moment for me:
Ask yourself why. Search for the real reason that this task is on your list, and what you’ll find is a little bit deeper than the to-do phrase written before you. Sometimes the answer takes a bit of digging, but it’s definitely there.
Say you’ve been avoiding making a doctor’s appointment. In your head, the idea of this task might sound like this: “Ughh, I don’t feel like making an appointment right now. They always keep me on hold for so long. Actually, I don’t even have the number saved. I just don’t feel like looking it up right now. What’s my doctor’s name again? Eh, I’ll just do this next week.” Stop yourself from thinking that way. Change your way of thought. Ask yourself why. Why are you going to the doctor in the first place? “I guess because I want to be healthy. I want to nip any health problems in the bud, should the doctor happen to find any.” Right. And why do you want to be healthy? Think hard. It’s not just for the sake of your own well-being. Think deeper. If something happened to you, it wouldn’t just affect you. Your friends and family would be devastated. So, if anything, do it for them! You want to make sure your friends and family are as happy as can be. So go make that doctor’s appointment. Besides, it’ll only take two seconds.
I recently met a Reiki practitioner, and was so happy to hear that her thoughts on this matter were quite similar to mine.
(A quick definition of Reiki from here, if you weren’t aware!)
But while I stress the question (“why”), she always stresses the answer. “It all goes back to gratitude,” she said. She spoke about how sometimes she just doesn’t feel like doing the dishes. She just doesn’t! She’s a busy mom with a busy career and sometimes she just doesn’t feel like it. But when she finds herself in this mindset, she takes a step back and thinks about gratitude. She thinks about how grateful she is for even owning dishes. For the food that was on them. For the kitchen she’s standing in. For the home in which she lives. Suddenly she’s grateful for this pile of dishes that she so resented just a few minutes prior.
But she still doesn’t feel like doing them.
So what does she do? She goes out and buys the best-smelling dish washing soap she can find. Then, she makes dish washing into a game. “I’m going to be the best darn dishwasher out there,” she thinks to herself. “Let’s see how many clean plates I can stack up before the clock strikes 8!”
And suddenly the mundane task of washing dishes has turned into game – one that’s not just fun, but also brings about feelings of gratitude. It’s all in the way you look at it, kids. I can’t wait to clean my room when I get home. :)
Images by Brigette
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