The idea of “having something to look forward to” crossed my mind the other day. We have had some really beautiful weather in Michigan, which is totally abnormal for this time of year. I should be making tea every night and gathering all of my oven recipes to help our family stay warm. Instead, we are wearing our Spring coats and (gasp) even going barefoot inside.
The Winter season often makes me feel like I’m always looking ahead, but I remembered this week WHY it’s important to have a few things in life to look forward to. And this not in avoidance, but in hope. Here are some examples:
+ working out: in the moment it’s uncomfortable, but your goal is to get to the end of your workout — that’s where the reward lies. Keep this mindset for a couple of months, take photos of your progress, and journal “before” & “after” thoughts. When I began running last year I had to adopt the “something to look forward to” mindset. In the beginning, finishing even one mile, while pushing a double stroller, felt mountainous. But after a few months of practice, I was finishing 3 to 4 mile runs daily, and feeling very happy with my minutes/mile rate.
+ working through a difficult job/project: starting a handmade business, preparing to quit my day job, learning how to sew a quilt, co-authoring an eBook — none of these tasks were easy in the beginning. They all required me to keep my focus, to work in 20-minute increments if need be, to stay inspired through the difficult tasks. And because of how long I had to remember the why with each project, the satisfaction I received once finishing stayed with me a long, long, long while.
+ moving: I mean, there were times I wanted to curl into a ball and beg someone else to do all the hard work! Moving across the country with two toddlers and a dog, while 5 months pregnant, knowing it would be about 6 weeks before we’d move into our new home, was exhausting just to think about! But, it was exhaustingly fun. If we didn’t have really exciting things to look forward to, why would we make this large of a move? The reward for finishing strong far exceeded the tasks we needed to wrap up, and we kept ourselves focused on this.
+ raising children: this is probably the easiest to fall back on when I think about “having something to look forward to”. You know the infamous saying, “the days are long but the years are short.” So how do we get from A to B in motherhood with that kind of referral? We have to (no, we must) have something to look forward to. Even if it’s something as silly as baking cookies once naptime is over, we must keep our chins lifted up throughout it all. Motherhood is all consuming. It’s made up of teeny tiny moments of solidarity with our children, which later blossom into breathtaking beauty. Nursing, diaper changes, holiday crafts, naptime, laundry, meal preparation, sleepless nights, intimacy with your spouse, birthday parties, morning play dates, doctor appointments, and so on — there are endless things to be working on, working towards, and relishing over success. And my guess? You’re already doing a great job at mothering, so keep at it, friend.
+ cooking: preparing our meals each week isn’t my favorite past time, but having the week’s menu planned out & bought is so rewarding that I make myself power through the prep work. But in all honesty, friend to friend, having a good meal on the horizon is definitely something to look forward to ;)
+ gathering a collection: related to moving, setting up a new home takes a lot of patience and hope. There are many things I want to do (read: buy), but I have to slow down and consider the process the same way I would if I was gathering a collection. And, all good collections take time. I have a few ideas for what to hang on our walls in our new home, but I’m not rushing into anything just yet. Yes, nail holes can be filled, but I’m taking some time to make sure my visions are headed in the right direction. The thrill of finding exactly what you are looking for is your fuel to keep yourself moving forward.
+ reaching a financial goal: we are in the thick of paying off debt, which means we are constantly evaluating our purchases. Buying X now can easily delay our financial goals, so it’s common for Zack and I to create a spreadsheet to anticipate exactly how a purchase will affect our end goal. It’s a constant “look ahead to the big picture” kind of thing; it definitely keeps us focused on the here and now. I can also relate this to when I was working towards quitting my day job to focus on Gussy Sews full time. Before I made the jump, I wanted to save 3 months of living expenses as an emergency fund. And while it was discouraging at times knowing I needed to reach this financial goal, it was super rewarding to finally accomplish it. There’s no doubt, setting impactful financial goals gives me something to look forward to.
We need to practice good self-care by making sure we “zoom out” from time to time. It’s healthy to keep a few things in mind that allow us to exhale. And, we need to carry hope in our back pockets, as that’s often what the future holds.
Let’s try something new. In the comments, I want you to answer this phrase: “Having something to look forward to makes me feel ___________________.”
I’ll start: Having something to look forward to makes me feel alive and inspired.
Your turn! xx