Thursday, March 11, 2010

Don't love it, don't do it.

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?
Stumble ThisFav This With TechnoratiAdd To Del.icio.usDigg ThisAdd To Reddit Bookmark Twitter


Rebekah said...

Oh for me it's watching movies! I don't love them, I only mildly enjoy them. And once I gave myself permission to not even try to see movies, I felt less like an exile from pop culture and more like a person with extra hours to do thing I actually like.

gamommy2two said...

Positively brilliant. You, my dear, are a genius.

Shannon said...

I totally agree with you, dont do it,buy it,watch it...if you don't absolutely love it! Great tip for saving one's money too! Great post, thanks for sharing it!

Megan said...

Blogging... I really love it. I love the blogs I "follow" ... I love sharing my voice. The minute I don't feel that way... that's when I'll stop.

Great advice.

Kristy said...

Love this post! I'm trying to figure out how to apply it to housecleaning. . .

Sabreena said...

I have applied this theory to exercise except I have yet to find an activity I love. I need to attempt applying it to shopping as you have because my closet is full of things I niether love nor wear. I think I should apply this to blog following. If I don't love a blog then I shouldn't follow it.

Really Rachel said...

I agree! I've long believed the 'don't love it, don't do it' rule. It's a great way to make sure you're not wasting your life.

BTW I've just read loads of your posts in one go and I'm thinking, I love this blog! I hardly ever take time to comment but I'm here thinking you're great :o)

Kassie said...

I'm trying to have a similar outlook on life. Now I don't dread mondays. Life is too precious for that, I've embraced my job and its highs and lows, and realized if I don't enjoy it what is the point.

Along the same train of thought -- I don't like it when I hear people say "I can't wait for the kids to be out of the house". Geez, why don't we enjoy life when we are in it!

Miz Dinah said...

I wish I could love running. I have crazy-hot monkey love for my couch and a blankie though. I will take your advice and look for something I love that involves physical activity. I may need couples therapy.

Anonymous said...

Rebekah - Good for you!

gamommy2two - aww thanks!

Shannon - It really does save you from wasting money.

Megan - Blogging - that is so true.

Kristy - Unfortunately the only time I'll ever love housecleaning is when I can hire someone to do it.

Sabreena - it took me ages to discover I liked running. Good luck finding something you like.

Rachel - hello you! Thank you so much. :)

Kassie - That's great that you can have that outlook on life. I'm trying to as well.

Miz Dinah - I like my couch too... and chocolate and wine, unfortunately.


I love your career insight. I have recently challenged myself to really try to find out what it is I LOVE and go for it. Turns out I LOVE being a mama and I wish it payed better :) So, now I need to get creative again and find out what I can do that I love that will pay while being a mama... We shall see! Hopefully I will have some fun figuring it out along the way.

Elaine A. said...

My mother's motto for clothes, that has served me well is "When it doubt, don't buy." I can instantly tell if something fits me right or not and this saying has saved me LOTS of money.

Metropolitan Mum said...

Exactly! Guess who just cancelled another gym membership.
I will take up Pilates again. The place where I used to work out is bloody expensive, but I absolutely loved it and never missed a single class. Compared to the gym that was reasonable in its price, but where I never went to, Pilates doesn't look so expensive after all.

Loukia said...

Great post, as usual. If I can be honest? I don't really like my job. It is NOT exciting enough for me. I'm not at all passionate about it, even though I do get to write/edit. It's just not what I thought I'd be writing/editing - I LOVED working in TV/Radio. That was exciting. BUT. Family comes first, and that means, I take the job which offers me more money, great benefits, great pension plan and normal hours with lots of vacation time. SIGH. Also... believe it or not... I really am loving going to the gym, even on my OWN! I know, shocker of all shocks. I'm so glad you found a career you love!!!!!

If I Could Escape . . . said...

Great post! I always stop and think would I buy this at full price? If so, then it's a keeper! Also, just started making a mental note of what I already have hanging in my closet so I don't buy the same old thing over and over! Right now, I'm after a whirly skirt!!