There are a million things we have to do but don’t want to do. Remember the movie The Breakup? Jennifer Anniston’s character famously says to Vince Vaughn’s character, “I want you to want to do the dishes.” The thing is, nobody wants to do the dishes, we have to do the dishes. I mean I guess we could skip it but that would give a whole new meaning to the word squalor. As human beings our brains are directed toward pleasure and fun. I imagine there is a tiny toddler version of ourselves inside our brains, and it’s constantly screaming and throwing temper tantrums when we are forced to do things we don’t want to do.
Recently I spoke with a friend of mine who works in retail. I asked how he was holding up during the holiday frenzy. My friend told me he is currently scheduled to arrive at work at 4am to work on inventory, then on the sales floor at 9 am. And by on the sales floor I mean you have to be on your A game. If you ever worked in retail then you know, from experience, the holiday season brings a special kind of hell on earth to these employees. The extra hours, the frantic pace, and some very moody shoppers can test your patience. The month of December feels like you are running a marathon, while being chased by a bloody clown. Shoppers will stoop to a level of rudeness you never thought was possible. I was once asked by a shopper if I could sit in the back of the boutique because she didn’t like the perfume I was wearing. No, I am not kidding.
I couldn’t imagine getting up that early every day when my body wasn’t used to it. My friend admitted it is very hard since he is not a morning person, then he said he makes it easier on himself by waking up at 1:30. Hold up? What??? This man is not a diva and doesn’t live more than a half hour from his job so why in the world was he adding to his torture by getting up so much earlier than one would expect? His answer was so interesting. He said because he knows he is not a morning person, he needs to get up extra early to allow for his mind and his body time to adjust. In reality it would probably only take him 30 minutes to get up, shower, get dressed, eat and be out the door. This man is old enough and wise enough to know himself well. He knows that a half hour is really enough time for his body and mind to “wake up.” To really feel awake he needs his mind and his body to feel relaxed, present and engaged. And since reporting to work at 4am is not fun, he decides to start the day by rewarding himself with things that make him happy. Taking time in the morning to read the paper, eat a nice breakfast, and slowly enjoy a cup of coffee all feed into his body and soul to set the stage for a good day. What a simple concept but one that we all overlook. When we need to do something we don’t want to do, we need to find a way to take control of the situation and do it on our terms. The result will be the same, but finding a way to do it that best fits you and your personality is the key.
For example, I despise having to empty the dishwasher, like from the depths of my soul despise it. I know this is stupid because it is something that can essentially be completed in less than 5 minutes, but still I put it off and avoid it like the plague. It is my least favorite chore so I have found the only way to motivate myself to empty the dishwasher is to “own it,” aka make it my bitch. When I avoid this task it ends up owning me. It teases me and taunts me every time I put another dirty dish in the sink instead of in the still needing to be emptied dishwasher. When I can’t find a certain item I need, and I discover it is in the dishwasher, I swear I can hear the dishwasher laughing at me. Especially when I open it up, only to get out the one thing I need, and leave the rest sit. This is crazy. As my trainer taught me with regard to lifting kettle bells, you need to “be in control and own the bells.” I said you mean “You want me to make this 50 lb kettle bell my bitch, right?” She paused, looked at me and said”Yep!” Full honesty that kettle bell still owns me since it is too damn heavy.
If we want to stay on top of something we have to know we are in charge. When I schedule something, even something so simple as emptying the dishwasher, it allows me to put the task on my terms. I also make sure to build in something to make it work better for me, often I try to get in a phone call I want to make to a friend. It’s a blatant motivation tactic, but it achieves the desired result. I have emptied the dishwasher instead of it telling me to empty it. And don’t worry, yes I do realize dishwashers cant talk.
The same logic can be applied to fashion and style. You can’t tell by looking at someone who is well put together, or looks completely awake, how they got to that point. Some people can look at their closet, pull out an outfit and be ready to go, the same way that some people can just hop out of bed and be awake and be ready. Many of my clients hire me because they dread shopping and they dread putting together outfits. Let’s face it, everyone needs to get fully dressed every day, unless you are a cartoon character, in which case pants seem to be optional.
When a client contacts me for the first time, they have usually reached some point of frustration over what feel like a loss of control. This is why the verbal part of the consult is so important to me. I want to take the time to get to know my clients, the insecurities, their fears, their likes, their dislikes. Whether it’s a disorganized or you need a completely new wardrobe, the end result should be the same. I want the client feel confident, comfortable and pulled together. I want them to feel a sense of relief in knowing that they took control of their situation and “owned it.” I want them to become that person that feels at ease in their body while looking effortlessly chic, knowing they can leave the effort part to me so they can enjoy the chic result.
*Insider Tip – Eat dessert first.
There is nothing wrong with finding a way to make an unpleasant task more pleasurable.
Hate to do laundry? Cue up your favorite guilty pleasure tv show to watch why you fold and sort.
Long car ride solo? Download an audio book or podcast to listen to.
Dreading a long wait time at the doctor’s office, post office, dmv? Treat yourself to your favorite coffee or drink (preferably non alcoholic as I am assuming you don’t want to get arrested during the day…) I also choose to grab a latte to help the dreaded grocery store process be a little more pleasant.
Sometimes rewarding ourselves during or even before an unpleasant task works better than waiting until after. Plus when you take the time to do something your own way it creates a feeling of empowerment and control, usually key in situations that feel forced. As long as the end result is the same, you can write your own story on how you get there. And along the way of writing your story be make sure to smile and be nice to people during the holidays…you never know who has to get up at 1:30am.