April 26, 2012

People do what they want to do, part II

While I was in college and during the year Matthew and I did the long distance thing, I lived in a tiny little two bedroom, one bath house built in the 1950’s.  That house had ugly green carpets, a bit of a roach problem, and was terribly drafty… I remember the walls in winter being ice cold, and in the summer the AC ran almost all day long.  But I loved that little house, and I was proud to call it home, despite all the troubles that come with renting an older place. 

I remember always feeling overwhelmed, though.  I had one bathroom, and I couldn’t keep it clean.  A bedroom that was always strewn with clothes and textbooks and other miscellaneous junk.  900 square feet of space, and yet I couldn’t keep the carpets clean or the kitchen tidy or the yard manicured. 

Now I know part of that just has to do with being young and busy and inexperienced in such matters (up until that point, I’d only had to keep a bedroom clean).  But sometimes I look back on that and think to myself how pathetic it was that I couldn’t keep up with that place.  I was busy, but not that busy.  What it came down to was that I was just lazy and didn’t understand my own potential to get things done and, yes, still have time to relax. 

The result was that I always felt guilty, always felt behind, never had that “ahhhhhh…” feeling of a clean home and an organized life.  Now don’t get me wrong—I definitely haven’t perfected all this yet.  Quite the contrary.  But looking back on my past and also watching people I admire, like my husband, and the way they tackle all the tasks set before them has been a learning experience for me over the last couple of years.  I’ve learned that almost all of my limitations are self-imposed, and I’m working on training myself to be another way, even though it doesn’t really come natural to me. 

The second post I ever wrote on this blog was titled “people do what they want to do,” and it was about just that. If someone isn’t keeping up with things they should be in their life, it’s because they don’t want to. There are other things more important to them, and they haven’t developed the habits to do the things they should before they do the things they want.  And I guess my challenge to myself lately (and now maybe you?) is to do the things you should, and just maybe, when you develop those good habits, they’ll become the things you want.  I’m seeing this happen in my own life!  Slowly, but surely.  I’m taking an active role in my life—making actionable plans, and then carrying them out.  I even have an accountability partner I “check in” with via Skype every day, and it’s been helping SO much. 

We’re all so different.  Some of us are “take the bull by the horns” types, maybe because of our personalities or our upbringing, etc.  But I believe that, even if you’re not, you can train yourself to be.  You can make your life something you’re proud of, whether you’re a student, a stay at home mom, a small business owner, or climbing up the corporate ladder (and everything in between). 

Just some random thoughts I’m thinking today. Hope it’s a good one for you! 

emerson (not sure of image source)

48 comments:

  1. I completely relate to this post. But also, yikes, because I am so the person that has a messy house (kind of all the time) and forgets all too often to exercise and do other such things that are good for me. I really appreciate your thoughts on the subject though and I want to change!

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  2. How are you so insightful? Thanks for this!

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  3. Have you been overhearing my conversations with myself lately? This is just what I needed to hear.

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  4. This is so great, Jenni. I've had sort of the opposite problem. For so long, I just had a mile long list of things to do. Keep my apartment spotless, make sure all my clothes are hung up in my closet, finish my homework by 8pm, get at least 8 hours of sleep... While all of those are great things, I forgot to find the joy in them. And I forgot to take some time to relax. I forgot to remember that everything always seems to get done and I CAN go spend a few hours at a friends house to talk and laugh and enjoy myself. Life can be sweet. Now, I have learned to do those things I've always done with more of a smile on my face. And sometimes, I leave my kitchen just a little bit dirty just so I can go share a cup of coffee and a few laughs. And it's okay.

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  5. I definitely had this conversatuon with myself yeaterday over the whole "I don't have time to work out" excuse. Perfect post for today!

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  6. Speak it, sista! LOVED this post...it's like you were talking straight to me. I am SO this person. Maybe not with a messy house (mainly because I'm a bit OCD), but with other things in life...like oh, let's say, working out or volunteering, or even meeting up with friends for coffee. I tend to fall into my own little "do what I want" routine and nothing productive gets done. I, too, am working on that part of me. Thanks for the reminder that I'm not alone!

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  7. I am totally struggling with this right now. I am making so many good changes in my life and I feel very responsible lately. But I'm also exhausted. It's hard to change "bad" habits but well worth the effort. Thanks so much for the encouragement. :)

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  8. Love this and so agree. I deal with this on a daily basis - struggling to push myself to my full potential. I am the only person who can remove my limitations.

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  9. Amen :) I, too, struggle and get down on myself for not keeping up with housework ALL the time.. I feel like such a failure sometimes, but I've sort of started to "train myself", like you say above.. One of my rules is never to go to bed with dishes in the sink. This "rule" branched into me wanting to keep the counters clear of clutter and junk and so on.. Its something to work on, but it can be done, becoming a "bull by the horns" type of gal

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  10. I totally agree with you and hope that one day cleaning the bathroom will be something I enjoy but I thinking I am hoping for a miracle there ;)

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  11. Umm I needed this. Thank you. It's so so true!

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  12. Relate to this post more than you know muffin. Love you.

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  13. I've ALWAYS used that saying in life "people do what they want to do." Its like someone can SAY they want to be a fantastic mother or father, but if they act the contrary, then really don't want to be a good parent. Someone can SAY they need to take more time to spend with their ailing parents, but if they decide to golf on the weekends instead of traveling to see them, they really don't. (and no, these aren't specific cases to me haha!!) BECAUSE.....PEOPLE DO WHAT THEY WANT TO DO. loved it.

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  14. Gosh, that's me RIGHT NOW. Tiny little house that I can't manage to keep clean like a normal grown-up. Little projects that I can't seem to make time for. It makes me wonder how I'll juggle a bigger house with more people in it.

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  15. I am definitely at a point in my life where I really need to get a handle on things. I crave organization and the peace and solitude that comes from having an organized life. I've decided it's more stressful, more exhausting to be disorganized in life, and I want to change. So thank you for this post! I think I'll have to change a little at a time, but change I will.

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  16. This is wonderful! I read and and thought to myself, "I really have to get this lazy ass moving!" It all starts for taking complete responsibility for our lives and circumstances even though it's so darn easy to blame it on other things.

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  17. Thanks for sharing that quote, Jenni! I definitely need a kick in the butt once in a while. Sometimes I just want to sit around and relax on my day off of work, but I should probably kick it into gear and go the darn grocery store on my day off. Even if I don't want to... argh. Thanks for sharing this... it'll give me something to think about today. I could use some positive changes in this life. (:

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  18. PREACH!!! =) Love this post! Totally applies to my life right now. I'm learning, growing, and realizing that I can accomplish way more than I ever thought possible. Thank you for the added reminder! =)

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  19. So my pastor is obsessed with the book, "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People," which I have never read, but he shared something out of there that totally rocked my world. The author writes about being proactive - and part of that is never saying, "I can't," but rather, "I choose not to." It was really freeing - just recognizing that often I tell myself, "Oh I just can't do it..." when in reality it's that I'm choosing not to. And, sometimes, it's a wiser choice to not do something, but it is a choice. I think it just reminded me that we have way more ownership over our circumstances than we think. Anyway - I like what you said about many limitations being self-imposed. I have realized the same thing over the past few years. Especially transitioning into motherhood and getting ready to lose a whoooole lot of my "free time." I've come to realize there is so much more time in the day than I ever thought possible. Good post! :)

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  20. I didn't realize my potential until I had my son. I used to be leafy, I'd sleep till 3 p.m. and basically felt incapable of accomplishing anything. When my son came all that changed. I suppose I needed the motivation to find my potential and to quit holding myself back. Now I'm accomplishing all the things I always said I wanted to. Even more because I am also raising a little boy on top of all that. Oh, and being a wife as well (an awesome one too if I do say so myself!) ;D

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  21. I've been having random thoughts like this lately too. I always think to myself that people have time for what they make time for. Easy to say "Oh I didn't work out because I had no time." When in reality if it was a priority we would make time. At this point in my life I find socializing to trump household chores, because I know the days of that are short lived.

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  22. This is just what I needed to hear today! I've been slowly working to change the things in myself that I don't necessarily like, and one of those is my motivation for things that aren't on my own agenda- like cleaning the house.

    What a great idea to just do them and that eventually they will become the things you want. I know I will feel a million times better if I take a break from working on the things I always put at the top of my list and get this place in shape. Plus I know once I get in the groove of it in our new place I will love keeping it that way.

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  23. You always write just what I NEED to hear. I am struggling with doing what I should as opposed to what I WANT a LOT this week... And I hate it but I know I've got to be disciplined... xoxo

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  24. Yeah, I agree. And I needed this, too. Sometimes I don't feel the drive to do the things I know I need to do. Sometimes that worries me because part of me thinks maybe not wanting to do them is a sign that I should be doing something else. But I have to remind myself that getting anywhere really good is hard work and requires discipline and sacrifice. Thanks for this!

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  25. I have got to be honest. I read half of this,stopped. Ran to clean the bathroom and then finished. Hahah its like you were writing this about me. Obviously being in college its hard to keep up with cleaning especially when your roommate,mmhm doesn't clean anything. But that's no excuse. And it always feel amazing to get things accomplished!

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  26. I really connected to this Jenni. Thanks!

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  27. So true...but so much easier said than done. I've been trying to be a different way for years and sometimes it's just too difficult! This is so relevant to my life right now though haha...being like that has led me to make a lot of mistakes :(

    From Cupcakes, With Love x

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  28. i love to read your thoughts. thanks for sharing.

    hope you are doing well:)

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  29. I love the way you explain complicated thoughts that we generally leave in the 'too hard' pile and make them simple to understand and possible to work through.

    Very inspired and always uplifted when I leave your blog :D

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  30. You have a point there Jenni! That is great advice. I am definitely someone who wants to do something, then never does it!
    So I need that advice! Thanks :)

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  31. well said! and btw, you are a very good writer!

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  32. Well said! And I agree with the previous commenter...you are a very very good writer. Great insights. Thanks.

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  33. I so needed to hear this - you are so right, we do choose to do what we want before we do what we should, I am guilty of that all the time. But life is all about learning lessons -- someday I will learn mine :)

    alicia

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  34. What an awesome thought! I am in that young college girl age that you were describing as your older self. I think I need to be more focused on my friendships and my school work. I need to appreciate my relationships, and take even more seriously my studies. Thank you for this!! :)

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  35. This is so true! So so so true! Sometimes when I get home after my day, I plop on the couch and not move for 3 hours cause I'm surfing the web. Other times I keep myself standing and clean everything from that mornings mess AND workout and I feel SO much more accomplished.

    But tonight..I plunked my fanny on the couch to catch up on blogs and its going on 3 hours since I've moved...just like clockwork!
    Emily at Amazing Grapes

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  36. Jenni-I agree with this 1,000% I struggle with it at times, there's an ebb and a flow.

    But you know what I've realized? Will power is contagious.

    Maybe your goal is to wake up at 6am without hitting snooze. As soon as you use your will power to do it, you're naturally inclined to tackle something else, so you might decide to go for a run since you're up early. Once you've gone for a run, it's on to the next thing.

    I really believe that the more we use our will power in ANY aspect of our lives, the happier we'll be and--as you so beautifully said--the things we 'should' do become the things we 'want' to do.

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  37. Jenni -

    This post is so well written and so very true! I can relate to just about everything you said and this is something I am struggling with/learning as well. Thanks for this encouragement!

    -Denise
    www.gratefullyinspired.com

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  38. I can completely relate to this post....there are things I should do but I let my wants get in the way first.

    Thanks for this post, it really puts things in perspective.

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  39. the timing of this post is sort of perfect. here i am reading blogs because i want to when i should be writing papers and studying for finals week. obviously i need to work on re-arranging my priorities.

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  40. This is a great blog post! I have to do the same- every morning I write down an action plan for the day, I also keep short term and long term goals lists in a notebook. Small everday steps = success!:-)

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  41. Oh Jenni! I think you wrote this post for me. Thank you! I needed to read this!
    xo,
    Kait

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  42. well written, its true we will only make a change or even do mundane things if and when we decided to do so. Its easier said than done, but training yourself on good habits is necessary.

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  43. Thanks for this post - you've articulated beautifully the way I've been feeling recently!
    I'm the sort of person that thinks 'oh I wish I could be the kind of girl that always has a beautiful manicure/ immaculate house/ keeps up with current affairs/ sticks to a training schedule' (yes, I'm also, apparently, extremely shallow!!).
    Suddenly I realised that if I really wanted to be something then I would be... it's quite the revelation and has made me think about my life in a very different way!
    Lexi

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Thanks so much for leaving your two cents! I read and appreciate every comment and respond when I can. Thanks for reading. :)

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