Saturday, December 20, 2014


I enrolled in Leo Babauta's Sea Change Program this month to work on creating habits.

For my habit, I picked 'tidying the house for ten minutes.' In reality, I've been doing various housekeeping related things, so the habit I am trying to form is better expressed as giving the house some focused and concentrated action oriented attention.

My trigger to begin is finishing my first cup of coffee. I put a reminder on the coffee pot. Yesterday, I slept in and did not even have a second cup of coffee--let alone ten minutes to tidy up. But boy-o-boy--did the house ever need it!

I figured I do it later. But as things do, "later" turned into "never" and there is a consequence for that. Leo suggests that we institute an "embarrassing but fun" consequence for missing a day. I haven't been able to figure out the "fun" bit--but I've got "embarrassing" ready.

The kitchen table:

and because I do have some pride. (Ok, a lot.) Here we are now:

So that this exercise isn't merely self-flagellating, maybe you can help?

I am having a couple of problems (both mental):

1) Timing. As I mentioned, I do this after my first cup of coffee and before I pour the second. Often, though, I am in the middle of something at that exact moment: writing a post, or reading something, usually. It is quite a wrench to pull myself out of what I am doing and start picking things up. It is a good time, however. Easy to remember--and--as long as I don't compress my morning--easy to do. It fits well into my morning routine. Maybe I just ought to just suck it up and do it (as I have been doing)? I have managed to do it 19 out of 20 days so far. The only day I've missed was yesterday.

2) Resentment. I wish it weren't true, but on some days I have a lot of resentment towards the other people in this house whose messes I am constantly cleaning (or so it feels). I am also resenting the interruption in my morning--as I mentioned above.

Any thoughts? Ideas?
Have you struggled with forming a new habit?


thefarmersdaughter said...

I told the boys if they didn't get their dirty clothes into the hamper it wasn't going to get washed. I resented the fact they thought I would just pick up their gross used underware with a smile on my face. They thought wrong. I started a playlist for my quick cleaning. That way I could time myself and keep on task. Music videos for quick cleaning, some of my favorite movies for the longer stuff. Also, I started using my calender for reminders- I figure if I started treating my housework like a job, it would help. It does. That way, I do as much of my work as I can when they're not here. It doesn't cut into my time with them, and I get more done alone. Faster too.....

Alana in Canada said...

Good for you, Lorijo!

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

I really want to do better about picking up after myself and getting projects done this coming year. You are motivating me.

Have lovely Christmas week & day ~ FlowerLady

Carol-Anne said...

Not sure if this would work in your life, but I make a "reward" for myself after the work is done. So I would get up & clean for 10 minutes (or whatever) and THEN have my no "reward" until the chore is done.

Also, I really struggle with the resentment thing too. I try to deal with it by remembering all of the lovely things those mess-making-people do for me, too. I also try to think of it as an honour to be able to do these things for them, as I remember what it felt like once when I was seriously ill & thought I'd never be able to do stuff like this again. Usually it works.

(of course, if they are truly piggish & taking advantage, then you need to deal with that!)

Good luck!

Rita said...

Well, I think that if I had to leave something I was thoroughly enjoying to pick up someone else's mess, I'd feel a little (no, a lot) of resentment, too.

Our two-family household has 3 teens, 2 adults, and more than one prickly relationship. What keeps the resentments (and conflicts) in check are household expectations and routines. For example, we all pick up our personal junk from common living areas before we go to bed each night. We have routines/rules about dirty dishes and bathroom areas, too.

Has it been easy establishing these? No. Does it take constant vigilance? Yes. Do the adults have the be on the same page? Abso-freaking-lutely. But the adults are no longer harboring resentment (usually), which makes many other things work more smoothly.

Alana in Canada said...

Lorraine--thank you so much. You never fail to encourage me.

Carol-Anne--no, no one is taking advantage. I think in many ways I am simply a spoiled brat. Keeping in mind how much I love them will help--so does realising they won't be with me too much longer.

Rita--Am I sensing a struggle? If so, I am sorry. A blended household can be so hard--especially around these things. I'll be setting up my kids with responsibilities during the Christmas break--that will help.

Marian said...

Oh, I wish I had had a chance to get to the computer when this discussion was more current, but I'll put my two cents in anyway as this is a subject I'm currently struggling with (family members not pulling their weight, and loads of guilty why-can't-I-be-more-easy-going resentment on my part).

Habits --- A couple of years ago my new year's resolution was the Nike phrase "just do it". Small chores left undone seem to have an exponentially large impact on me, so rather than leaving things to "later" I would tell myself to "just do it", and I mostly did. Getting those things done in a more timely fashion was a big help, and I still find myself using the phrase as a good reminder (one of the only resolutions I've ever managed to keep!).

That being said, the resentment of having to take care of others' messes has not been solved, and we have some work to do in establishing routines and expectations, because the routine we're currently employing - I do and do and do, the resentment builds, I lose my temper, people scramble - isn't really the best model ;)

Alana in Canada said...

Marian--You are not joining the conversation too late, not at all. It is good to know I am not alone in this. I wish I knew what to say to you. I do ask the kids--not that they are teenagers--to do more--I give them specific jobs--like vacuuming or dishes. But they do not always do them as quickly or as thoroughly as I'd like. Whether or not I blow up has to do with how well rested/stressed I am--and of course, the messier things are, the more stressed I am. I wish I could be of some help.

Sarah Wilson said...

I just signed up for a free online class How to become a morning person.

I'm hoping it helps me get more motivated in the mornings so I can get stuff done before work!!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...