Why You Should Do the Thing You Feel Least Like Doing

When the evenings draw in and there’s an absence of light filtering through my bedroom window in the mornings, I must admit that my energy and motivation levels can start to flag. Maybe in a former life, I was a hedgehog who was lucky enough to curl up and hibernate over the winter, blissfully aware of any gloomy weather conditions. It is so tempting to slack off doing things that take a little bit more effort, things that I don’t generally think twice about doing in spring and summer. Perhaps you feel the same?

Some things feel like too much effort…

Some days I can’t be bothered to style my hair properly, just wash it, have a quick comb through and leave the house with it still a bit damp. Other days applying makeup feels like a chore, especially if one of the kids has woken during the night and my bleary eyes don’t want to focus on anything. Or rather than fixing myself a proper breakfast that will energise and nourish me, I’ll grab a couple of sugary biscuits that leave me flagging after the sugar high wears off. All of these examples do occur in my life sometimes, plus more. It’s part of the nature of being an ordinary, flawed human.

Yet if I make a different choice, exert more of an effort and do the thing I feel least like doing, I never regret it later. Never. Pushing myself to do the thing I least feel like doing tends to make me feel heaps better almost instantly after doing it.

Why it’s worth doing them anyway…

Let’s return to the examples in the paragraphs above. When I’ve washed my hair in the morning and just get straight on with styling it, either blow drying and straightening it or trying out a different style, it looks so much better which gives me an instant lift. The same thing goes for applying my makeup. Although I go for a pretty understated, natural makeup look it evens out my skin tone and helps emphasise certain features. This makes me feel so much more positive about getting out there and facing the world, even if it only involves the school run. A tasty, healthy breakfast of eggs, muesli or fruit and yoghurt provides slow-release energy throughout the morning. A few weeks after I’d had my youngest child by C-section as well as having fought off sepsis contracted through the surgery, I had to resume the school runs again when my husband returned to work and left the house early. On reflection, I still wasn’t feeling very well at all but even so, when I took the time to apply makeup and fix my hair I felt infinitely more human and functional (even if I’d only snatched 4 hours sleep…). Taking the time to do that was a very worthwhile investment for me personally.

The same can be said of so many other things in life, too. Some have far more significant and wide-reaching impacts, also. Making the effort to exercise when you really don’t feel like it. Making the effort to separate your recyclable packaging from non-recyclables. Walking instead of driving for short distances.

How about you?

What do you think, reader? Which things do you do, either small or large, that you sometimes don’t feel like and have to muster up the motivation but are always glad you did afterwards? Please do drop a comment below to let me know 😊.

The reason why so few women are as stylish as they desire to be…

What is the reason for the lack of style of many women in the UK? While flicking through a local free magazine* recently, one article discussing just this caught my attention. Ruth Essex, a stylist and style writer, pondered the reasons why so many women are not the stylish, elegant dressers that if asked, they claim they desire to be.

Lack of cash?

Despite money or lack thereof being the obvious barrier, lack of cash is actually not the real problem. Money does not always equate to good taste in attire, as endless red carpet faux-pas can attest to.

A less than perfect Figure?

Dissatisfaction with one’s figure doesn’t cut it as an explanation, either. You only have to look to countries such as France or Italy, where the majority of plus-sized ladies make the best of themselves and present an elegant image out and about.

Nope. Two little words are the culprits…

Nope. Ruth rightly pinpoints the problem down to two little words: “only” and “just”. How many times have we all discounted the need to make an effort with our choice of clothing, hair and make up because we are “only” doing the school run, or “just” going to the shops for a pint of milk, or “only” meeting a friend in an informal cafe for lunch. Hands up who has succumbed to this way of thinking? I know I certainly have and can easily slip back into it if I’m not careful. Why do we diminish the importance of these singularly small events, that when pieced together form the bulk of our days and actual lives?

woman holding disposable cup
Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

How to break the habit?

Why not challenge yourself to remove those “just” and “only’ words? See how the sentence becomes reframed? I am doing the school run. I am going to the shops. Now, these events sound worthy of making a little more effort for, don’t they?

Ruth Essex explains that the “just” and “only” type thinking is called “faulty” thinking by psychoanalysts but we can re-learn it. It is about reminding ourselves that spending a little extra time on coordinating an outfit each morning, applying a little makeup and styling our hair is something that we deserve to do and that because it makes us feel good about ourselves, it contributes towards our wellbeing. Don’t you notice a huge difference on those days when you have invested a little more time than usual on getting yourself ready to go out, in terms of what a boost it gives you, even if no one else notices the outward difference?  A glance around the centre of any Italian or French city will certify that the donne and femmes of the respective lands have cultivated this mentality and strive to present themselves at their best on a daily basis. In fact, the grandmother of the boy I was an au pair for in Italy dressed and made herself up beautifully every single day, even though she rarely chose to leave her home. Taking pride in her appearance was second nature given that she was in her seventies.

So Remember…

The old adage “life is not a dress rehearsal” is an apt reminder that the seemingly ordinary everydays are what make up the bulk of our existence. So: pull out those lovely items in your wardrobe that you save for best, remove the sealed wrapping from that eyeshadow you purchased months ago and give yourself permission to use them and enjoy them.

*The article was called ‘”Only” and “Just”: The Death of Style’ by Ruth Essex in Eastlife magazine