Do Things You Love

I’m reading a great book right now that has a chapter titled Do Things You Love.  It seems silly and obvious, but if you think about it we all know folks who don’t do anything they love on a daily basis.

For example, I’ve been raising ducklings this spring. Why in the world did I think it was a good idea to take on another “project?”  After a trip to our local farm & home store to see the adorable chicks and ducklings, the kids squealed with delight.  I couldn’t tell them no.  Plus if the kids are asking for responsibility instead of “stuff” I consider that a win!

If it will bring joy, then why not?

On “Duckling Day” I pulled my boys out of school early.  Their enthusiasm was worth it! Did I mention having to sleep with them in the house when we had a frigid week?  No.  Or how I had to clean their pen everyday?  No. All I thought about was the laughter it brought to our family and friends.  Yes, those same friends who thought I was nuts taking on another project when I already have three kids, two dogs, one cat, eight fish and two snails.  And who’s husband travels all the time.  While I’m starting a new business.  But you know what else they said?  Of course Heather would do something like this! My friends think of me as someone who embraces life and lives in the now.

How do your friends think of you?  How do you see yourself?  Are you someone who can’t take a compliment?  Do you use self-deprecating humor or always knock yourself? Are you always complaining? Do people reflect your smile?  Would you give a compliment to someone in line at the coffee shop if you liked their clothes/shoes/bag/smile?

I know change is hard and can feel like you’re swimming against a riptide. Start small.  Try to catch yourself.  It can be as simple as saying ‘thank you’ to a compliment vs. negating it. Or when you’re at the checkout lane and a magazine with beautiful images about travel, your dream home or breath-taking gardens is calling you…pick it up.  That’s the universe telling you to stop and enjoy the photos, explore an exotic locale or expand your horizons on a new topic.

Maybe it’s music that makes you happy.  I invest the $4/month in Pandora to get commercial-free music. I know I can’t get through the day without a soundtrack.  I find value in building my playlists.  Some days I need the Beastie Boys in the morning and James Taylor in the afternoon.  The Black Keys are my favorite when I’m writing, Katy Perry is great when getting ready and AC/DC is necessary when hiking. (A good beat keeps you moving!)

Just like you can train your body to become a runner, you can train your mind to do things you love.  It might sound simple, but start doing it.  Make it a conscious effort.  It will have a dramatic impact on your life.  Pay attention to what makes you happy. Maybe it’s the things you see others doing you wish you could join in (guess what, you can!) Write them down.  Start looking for things great and small.  Maybe you want to see the village where your great-grandparents emigrated from. Start by researching your ancestry and then plan your trip. Some of the fun of travel is the planning.

The trick is to find something that works when you’re having a crappy day.  Something that brings you joy.  We’ve had an incredibly emotional spring in our family.  Finding time to do things you love has become even more vital. Life can change so quickly. It’s easy to curl up in a ball and be sad. That is where I was today.  Instead of giving in to the heavy weight of the blues I sat outside and watched the rain clouds roll in. Taking those few minutes gives me the courage to tackle the rest of my day.

Good luck!  If you’re looking for a place to start, pick up this book:

The beginning is a bit self-helpish but it’s inspiring at the same time.  (Trust me, I rarely read anything in this genre!)

Good luck and make small changes every day!