Welcome back to the next post in the “Good Habits” series. We are focusing on lots of little good habits that add up to life running more smoothly and being more enjoyable for ourselves and our families. As the saying goes, “If Momma isn’t happy, then nobody is happy.” I want to see lots of happy Mommas! The Good Habits series focuses on small steps that we can take to make sure that we are taking care of ourselves, our families, and our priorities. You can read a little more about the reasoning behind this series by taking a quick read of the first Good Habits post.
My husband once took a personality test for work that describes him as being very good at “starting” projects. Boy, is that test accurate! He loves to do tons of things for me around the house, but he rarely finishes anything. I don’t need to ask him to do anything really because he so often takes the initiative to start things on his own. A “dream come true” type of husband, right? Umm……..yes and no. First, since he will read this…….. “I love you honey”. However, he kind of drives me crazy. He takes the trash out. He doesn’t put a clean bag back in the trash can. He cleans out the cupboards. He places all of the empty cardboard boxes by the door to go out to the recycle bin rather than putting them in the recycle bin. He stays up all night painting my stairs black and white just like all of the Pinterest pictures that I fell in love with. (So sweet!) He doesn’t finish the trim. (Oh man!) He isn’t alone. A lot of us do the same thing. Big or small……….it’s not easy to finish what we start.
So many times I find myself starting a project and then I get interrupted. It’s really hard to finish what you start with small children ruling your life. As a result, so many of us get into the routine of only doing things part way because we expect to be interrupted. Our habits look something like……..a series of unfinished projects. Laundry for example……how many opportunities are there for you to NOT finish what you start? You know what I mean…………..how many times do you rewarm the load in the dryer? How often do you get dressed from the laundry basket because the clothes never make it to the closets and drawers? I’m telling you that if we just finish what we start, life will be so much easier. Which………..of course……….is easier said than done. We have to try though. Let’s put some focus on finishing everything we set out to do.
Tips to Help You Finish What You Start
Be picky about the projects you start. No all projects are worthy of your time and attention. Pick those that are. I see lots of moms I know running around losing their minds about projects that don’t really interest them or don’t line up with their priorities. If your goal is to spend more time with your kids, then don’t pick projects that take you away from them when you can help it. If your goal is to spruce up the living room, then quit shopping construction materials for a new deck. Finish what you start before you move on to the next project.
Figure out what resources you will need. It is rather pointless to plan a day of cleaning when there are no cleaning supplies in the house. I know. I’ve tried. And guess what…………I wasn’t able to finish what I started. It is so frustrating to be in the middle of a project and realize you don’t have what you need. Make sure you take the time to plan for the items you need to complete your projects ahead of time.
Honestly budget your time. My husband loves to rattle off a list of things we can get done each weekend. I just sit back and laugh a bit to myself. Honey, you just planned for a week’s worth of projects and we only have an hour after the football game and before the birthday party to complete all of them. Don’t frustrate yourself by falling into this trap. If you are new to painting……….it’s going to take a bit longer the first few times. Plan accordingly.
Honestly budget your energy. This is where I probably struggle the most. I have lots of dreams and projects, but after working all week, volunteering, running kids around, and teaching Sunday school………..I’m pretty tired. When I get home from my daughter’s dance class at 8:30 Wednesday night, that certainly is not the time to start a marathon laundry session and expect to finish what I start. I need to pick a smaller project, like the ever so glamorous cleaning of the toilet. That takes no time and I can feel good about crossing it off my list of things to do.
Make it enjoyable. Grab a friend or your husband and get to work. Everything is more fun when you have someone to work with. Put some music on, grab a veggie pizza, and get to work. Soon you will be laughing your way through the project. I’ll often motivate myself on smaller projects with quick song breaks or Youtube videos after a complete a portion of the task. Then, it’s back to work so that I can finish what I started.
Keep the finished project in mind. Big projects take time and a lot of work. It may be hard to find the motivation to finish building a deck or redecorating the living room if you don’t keep the end project in mind. Put up pictures or refer to the article you pinned on Pinterest often. Don’t give up until your project looks like your vision. I’ve got a bunch of organized cupboards and clutter-free rooms pinned on Pinterest to keep motivating me.
Keep track of your progress: I know it sounds silly, but I love to make to-do lists. That may not sound funny, but how much I love to make to-do lists borders on obsessive. Crossing items off that list is an instant high for me and motivates me to keep going. I even will put something on a list………just so I can cross it off. My lists really help me keep track of my progress though and that’s the point. I can see in an instant where I am in the process.
Celebrate! Figure out what motivates you and reward yourself. I dance a little jig every time I can cross something off my list. Yes, I’m weird that way. Other ideas, might be to set some time aside to read your favorite book or blog, dance with the kids, take your husband out to dinner to celebrate finally getting the kitchen decluttered. Use what motivates you and reward yourself for staying on task. Good habits should always feel good, right?
OK………..let’s get to this. Let’s keep the focus on finishing everything we start. From big tasks to small, let’s see how much we can accomplish over the next week. It’s not going to be easy, but with time it will get easier. That’s what habits are all about. Keep your eye on the prize. What does your house and your life look like if you just finish what you start? Amazing, right ? I’ll be working on this habit and I would love to hear your words of encouragement and the frustrations that you encounter.
How can you apply these tips to the projects…….big or small……..that you are working on now? What is your biggest obstacle to finishing what you start?
Since I always want you to be thinking about eating real food…………..If you are looking for help in making the transition to eating more real food, you should check out the Real Food Experience posts. You can get started at the beginning or jump around the challenges. You can find a complete round-up of the program here. Each week’s challenge is full of terrific advice to help you transition from fast and processed food to a real food diet. Changes that will help you to live a healthy lifestyle and have the energy to keep up with your busy schedule. I would also love for you to join me on social media. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram on a regular basis. Leave me a comment and let me know you are there. I love to visit with my readers.