I’m sure that every one of us has some everyday activities that he or she hates. I hate cleaning – for example. It’s very hard for me to get motivated to clean! My husband and I have this agreement that we tidy our house up from the bottom to the top every two weeks. Till recently that meant a huge stress for me. I don’t particularly like house work. I’m much rather outside gardening, than being stuck for a couple of hours indoors – cleaning! Cleaning day always seemed like a century to me.
During the cleaning most of my thoughts were negative like these:
- I think we should postpone this cleaning day – I don’t have time for this today;
- I hate cleaning;
- I was not born for cleaning – I have better things to do in my life;
- I didn’t put this think here, why do I have to tidy it up;
- It can wait;
- I can’t get myself motivated to clean;
- What is the use of cleaning? It will get dirty again soon;
- I’m so tired – this cleaning is so exhausting; etc.
And the result of this kind of thinking was that afterwards I felt really down. I was tired and not in the mood for anything else than watching television. After a few hours of cleaning my life energy dropped drastically and I needed the whole afternoon to put myself together again. That’s why I began the search for ways to get motivated to clean even when I don’t feel like it.
I realized that cleaning day was not my real problem. My real problem was my negative thinking. It’s easy to think positive when you like what you are doing, but it’s very hard to think positive when you have to do something you don’t like. My way of thinking affected my mood and made my day miserable. I really wanted to change that. After all I can’t avoid cleaning for the rest of my life. I searched for approach that could help me with my thinking problem.
Among my books about self-growth I found my notes from NLP-training. There I rediscovered simple techniques that describe how to communicate with our brains.
Our brains believe whatever we say to them. And not just that – they create a moving picture (a film) for every sentence that we make or we hear. We are literally imagining everything we hear from outside and also everything we say to ourselves. Based on pictures that our brains produce, a program in our brains chooses whether this is a good or a bad news.
If we are talking, hearing or thinking about positive things, pictures in our head will probably be colorful, full of light, inspiring. Our focus will be on the things that we want in our life. Our brains will recognize this type of thinking and will give our body a sign that this is a positive experience. We will feel full of energy, optimistic, and happy.
The same is with negative thoughts. If we are talking, hearing or thinking about things that we don’t want, pictures in our head will be dark, depressed and full of anger. But guess what – because we have focus on things that we hate this causes a negative mood. Our brains will recognize a negative experience and this will reflected on our body. We will feel low on energy, depressed and exhausted.
Here are a few tips on what you can do to trick your brain and make a positive experience in any given situation:
1. Decide to do unpleasant things right away.
We often do the mistake to postpone an unpleasant activity as much as possible. We make all sorts of excuses… At the last minute and under a lot of stress we finally do the assignment but we don’t feel good about it. Afterwards we need a long brake to relax after all this stress.
It’s much better to decide to do unpleasant things first. It takes a strong will but it’s worth it. The worst feeling is postponing things you don’t want to do. You feel bad and you have a lot of guilty thoughts in your head. The bottom line is – like it or not – you will eventually have to do the unpleasant job. So why put yourself under all this stress? If you do things right away you will have a lot of free time. And this conclusion leads us to my second tip;
2. Focus on things that you will be able to do after you finish your job.
As I mentioned before our brains have a great ability to create different pictures based on the things that we think about (hear or say). So if you think about pleasant things that you could do after finishing your work, your brains will create nice pictures. You will feel happy because your focus will be on things that you like to do.
Try to imagine how good you will feel after you’re done. Try to create a clear picture of all activities that you will be able do after finishing your job. The more precise you are with imagining your “want to do activities” the more motivation you will feel for finishing your current assignment.
3. Combine your unpleasant duty with a pleasant one.
Think of all the different things you like to do; listening to the music, exercising, watching a movie,… Now try to combine a pleasant activity with unpleasant one.
In my example – I like to listen to classical music. I figured out that I can tidy up my house and listen to the music at the same time. So now I’m looking forward to every “cleaning day”, because on that day I have an opportunity to listen to different well known classical pieces that I adore.
I tried all these tips and they worked perfectly for me. I’ve found the ways to motivate myself and now I can clean whenever I want. The most important thing to remember is – negative thoughts produce negative results and positive thoughts produce positive results! If you are thinking about things that you don’t like, you will have more things that you don’t like. If you focus on positive, nice, pleasant things, you will have nice, positive and pleasant experiences! You CAN control your thoughts! With positive thinking and positive attitude, cleaning can be fun!