A few years ago I discovered a little secret about shopping for clothes. It's a simple thing that has saved me from wasting money on random garments that end up gathering dust at the back of the shelf: I only buy clothes if I love them.
I don't mean "love" as in - oh yeah I love that yellow sundress. But like - oh my gawd, I will cry and stamp my feet if that yellow sundress isn't hanging in my wardrobe when I wake up tomorrow morning.
I don't buy a lot of clothes. But the few pieces I do buy - I make sure I love. And guess what? I actually wear them. A sweater that I've worn to death. A pair of jeans I splurged on. And a tank top I bought in a sale at Old Navy for $2 last Autumn.
And when I decided to switch careers and started training as a massage therapist, I realized something: I had never really loved, wait - even liked my career before. I used to work for communications agencies as a project manager, and then later as a writer. The truth was, I never really enjoyed my work - I just didn't know it at the time.
But massage therapy, I enjoy. I love everything about it: the physical act of using my hands; the fact that I'm not sitting in front of a computer screen; the feeling of helping someone by relieving their stress, or pain.
I spent ten years of my life doing a job I didn't like - either because I didn't think I had any other options, or because I didn't have the courage to explore anything else.
And then I thought, this don't do it if you don't love it rule could apply to other things too.
Exercise, for instance. How many times have you heard people complain about not exercising because they can't bring themselves to go to the gym, or to an exercise class?
You know why they don't want to go to the gym?
Come closer... I'll whisper it in your ear... It's a little known secret...
The reason they can't motivate themselves to go is because THE GYM SUCKS. Sorry, people who like the gym, but, having been a compulsive gym-joiner / quitter myself for years, I've come to the conclusion that it's not for me because I didn't ever really enjoy it.
Last year I discovered (and believe me, I was shocked) that I liked running. It was one of the few times I got to be alone without interruption, listening to my music and having time to think. Plus, I felt so good after a run. Basically, I did it because I enjoyed it.
What about you? What things do you, or could you apply the don't do it if you don't love it approach to?