On My Mind – 08 – Look Forward to, Like Doing, vs Like Having Done

Those of you who’ve read here a while will not be shocked to hear that I do many, many things each week. I try to set specific goals for myself and then I also try to achieve them. I am an Upholder so the only person I need to be accountable to is myself. I work hard to honor who I want to become. 

I was thinking on the drive home this morning that while I do a lot of things, I think people assume that I feel the same way about all the things I do and that I must really have good sense of discipline. One of the things I’ve learned as I get older and live more and more intentionally is that if I wait until I feel like doing things, I will never do them. There are many many many things in my life I do because I know that I will be glad I did and not because I like doing them. In fact I’d say there are three categories for me:

  • Look forward to doing: These are things I can’t wait to do. I really love doing them and I am excited when I know the time is coming. There are very few items on this list: reading, some vacations, hugging my family, date with certain friends and resting/sleeping. That might be it. There are many one-off items on this list but routinely I probably only really look forward to these few things. 
  • Like Doing: These are things that I don’t always look forward to but as soon as I start doing them I love them. I am immediately glad I am doing them. This is a wide list for me but here are some examples: tucking nathaniel in, taking math classes with the kids, body pump, yoga, stretching, vacations that aren’t on the previous list, online classes, spending time helping my kids, volunteering at the kids’ school, scrapping/art/journaling etc.
  • Like Having Done: This is, by far, the biggest list for me. These are things that I know are good for me but I rarely naturally want to do them and I don’t always enjoy doing them (sometimes I might but it’s not consistent enough to make it to the previous list). Many of the growth areas of my life (or the chores) would fall in this category. Things like: cardio/barre type exercise, eating healthy most of the time, getting up early, driving kids to their extracurriculars, picking kids up from the school, cleaning out my email, packing lunches for the kids, crossing off all my todos, self care like getting my hair or nails done. Putting cream on my body, flossing, etc. 

I try to have a healthy distribution of the three things but the third bucket is always biggest for me. I don’t like doing these things any more than the next person but I try to balance it out by having enough things in the other two and by reminding myself that I am always grateful at the end and that these efforts accumulate. It’s a lot of self-awareness, tracking outcomes, and self coaching to remind myself that it’s worth it.

Now that I am seeing it all laid out in front of me, one of the things I want to work on is balancing each throughout my day/week. I want to make sure I do combination of these every day and each week. The weeks when it’s so much more of one vs the other are always the weeks I feel off balance. Even when it’s all #1 and none of the other two. I benefit from having all three in my life. 

And of course there are things that i do that I don’t like to do and am not glad I did, but I try to reduce those as much as possible. Those can accumulate into a life that feels draining and bitter and that’s something I don’t want to experience any more if I can help it. 


On My Mind is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018 here.

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