I mentioned the other day that I had a lot more to say on this topic, so here goes. Obviously this is my point-of-view, maybe you all are much better at self-discipline than I am, but then again, maybe not.

It seems to me that the obstacle to EVERYTHING is inertia. (Sometimes known as procrastination.) You think to yourself: I will eat better, I will exercise more, I will actually sweep and mop the floors once in a blue moon so that I’m not secretly embarrassed when we have people over. Good intentions, these.


If you follow that up with “And I will start it first thing tomorrow!” – you never will. You have to do it now, or never. If you don’t start when you have the mental energy, you will never find the physical energy. I don’t have any advice on overcoming this, really, other than to say: just start. Start with something small, because once you get going that same law of physics applies – objects in motion tend to stay in motion, and objects at rest tend to stay at rest.

For us, we started trying to eat better and the thing that helped us was signing up for fresh organic produce delivery every other week. [Chicago folks, we used Fresh Picks, and they are pretty awesome.] That forced us to eat more veggies in the first place, and also to try things we’d really never eaten before. Kale, swiss chard, parsnips, sunchokes. All delicious. Eventually, that morphed into more regular trips to the farmers’ market, eating less meat and more fish, spending more to get our animal products from farms who raise them humanely without hormones and antibiotics, and planning our meals. And as you may know, that (and our wedding) kind of led to this blog’s existence.

The same idea has, of late, helped me to get better about chores around the house. Because before, aside from laundry, half of the dishes, (wo)manning the grill, and cake/pastry making,* Julia did the bulk of the chores and I was not a very good partner in that regard. I sucked, if we’re being honest. I found I needed a system, a set schedule with deadlines to get things done. I’m using an app (Remember the Milk) on my iPhone (it can also be used via web/email), and I know it sounds lame, but when I see that stupid little red circle with the number of chores that are due, I’m motivated to do them in order to make that alert go away! To each his/her own, I suppose. My point being that it is, apparently, possible to turn into a person who does chores regularly (and consequently, a person who gets to sleep on pretty clean sheets and walk barefoot on the floor without turning her feet black) – you just need a system that works for you.

The kicker? Once everything is clean, I get annoyed much faster when it’s not and am developing an impulse to restore it to order immediately. I’m pretty sure Julia loves me more now that she doesn’t have to do everything.**

So. How do you deal with all the stupid stuff you have to get done so that you and your home are presentable?

*Yeah. I know that is not really a chore. Also, when I say laundry, I mean I put it through the washer and dryer and then bitched and moaned about how much I hate folding and putting it away, and then Julia probably folded and put it away.

**But we still need to resolve where to put dirty dishes when there is no more room in the dishwasher or it is full of clean ones. And yeah, I know that second situation is easily solved by putting the clean ones away… but you know… I’m sitting on the couch, typing this post… inertia.

4 comments on “Inertia and Making it a Habit

  1. Dea-chan

    I invite people over. I had had some regularly occuring events (currently on hiatus) that involved having people over and seeing what a shitty housekeeper I was — so I always cleaned like a fury for an hour or two before folks came, and It Was Good.

  2. Cindy

    Having people over regularly is definitely a good system. We have totally wacky schedules a lot of the time and unfortunately cannot do that as often as we'd like.

  3. Adventures Along The Way

    Good point about the objects at rest and in motion. I made myself a chore chart and get a kick out of crossing them off. And I use todoist.com, which I LOVE. I am pretty addicted. 🙂

  4. Cindy

    Whatever system works for you is the system you need. We tried ChoreWars.com for a while, but I found it didn't motivate me well.

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