Saturday afternoon. I, for once recently, had a decent night’s sleep so I was feeling quite fresh and I was thinking about painting my nails. There was no reason for me not to paint them. I had the time, I had an emery board and I had a new nail polish (Essie’s Lounge Lover, if you’re interested – it’s pink like a bright flamingo verging on neon). Nevertheless, I just couldn’t be bothered. Could I bring myself to get up, move to the few feet to other room, pick up the emery board and polish, then spend the 20 minutes it would take to file and paint my nails? Could I toot. This had actually been the case for a few weeks since I had last painted over chipped polish with a fresh coat. My nails hadn’t actually been cut for about two months although they grow at a rate of knots (unlike my hair – I am always trying to grow my hair). They were far too long. M refers to them as talons. He can be a charmer. Actually, only some were far too long. I did file a few of them a couple of days ago before I gave up. And the reason for this? I just could. not. be. bothered.
Malaise, ennui, lethargy, laziness, can’t be bothered, can’t be a*sed… It is all one and the same.
I thought about this a lot during April as there were several times I was going to do something but just didn’t follow through; exercise, get up earlier, moisturise, book a train ticket, cancel a subscription. Instead, I just didn’t do them or I put them off.
It struck me that I wasn’t making the effort, not that I feel I should make, but that I wanted to make.
My theme and word for May seemed a natural choice.
As in, I need to make more of one.
Another thing I realised whilst contemplating this theme was that I am aware that I give shorter and shorter shrift to people who moan that there is something that is wrong in a situation which they can change but, even though they are able to make a change , they don’t put the effort in to even start to put the wheels in motion for that change (and, yes, that does include myself).
Do you want a new job? A promotion? A tidier home? A healthier body? More savings? Better relationships? To see your friends more? To stress less? To have better skin? To speak French? To know more about politics? Cook more adventurous dishes? Learn a new skill?
All these things require effort. They are not on the whole things that fall out of the sky and into your lap. Unfortunately.
However, and here is the paradox, although we may be adverse to making an effort, we are not adverse to its consequences. They are preferable. For example, results could be more confidence, security, skill, improved health, happiness or calmness.
So why sometimes can we not take the steps that we need to be able to make that effort? What is holding us back?
That I am not sure of but here is an example.
I leave the house early for work (7.15am). I hardly put any makeup on as I have a very short turn around time. A tiny bit of foundation, some concealer, mascara and blusher (thank goodness for blusher – my favourite is this one from NARS). The bare minimum. My hair, usually unruly, is not properly styled. I fiddle with it all the time so it usually goes into a top knot (and not a chic styled one with kirby grips, flair and hairspray but one dry-shampooed to within an inch of its life (this probably partially explains its slow growing tendency) and which falls apart intermittently throughout the day. It is not the professional, immaculate and well put together look I would ideally like.
Could I achieve it? Yes, if I got up 20 minutes earlier?
Do I get up 20 minutes earlier?
No, I do not.
Why not? What is it that I put above achieving this?
So why not go to bed earlier?
Because I like having an evening after I get home from work at about 7.45pm.
And so it goes on. And on. And on.
I could just, however, pull my finger out and just get the hell up 20 minutes earlier and do it.
And so, for May, this is what I will do.
I will do things on the day. I will put in effort where I haven’t previously.
For May, I will up my game. I will put more time into exercising, my appearance, picking not just the same work outfits for work, buy considerate presents (in advance) (there are a lot of birthdays in May).
I will think less and do more.
I am starting with some helpful as always tips from Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before which I am reading for the first time and, finally, my nails.
Do you put things off and not put the effort in when you actually want to? Do you have any tips for just getting on and doing it?
I’ll let you know how I get on.
All images except mine are via Pinterest