Do you know what you want?
At a restaurant, can you find things you like easily?
Or do you need to know what everyone else is eating first?
Are you able to shop easily for yourself?
Are you able to say what you want in a meeting or on a date?
It can be really hard to know what you want when you have been focused on everyone else in your life.
Many of us do not know what we want because we spend so much of our time making decisions for everyone else. You might have a demanding job with crazy deadlines that requires putting out fires day in and day out. You might have a family member that requires a good deal of your time and attention, due to illness or other immediate circumstances. Perhaps you have overcommitted in your personal time where every second is devoted to being the “great listener” to all your friend and co-workers. It doesn’t come from a bad place, you just want to help and be responsible. There are times when it can sneak up on you and before you know it, you are all give and no take. It is exhausting and depleting.
Life can be really challenging with lots or responsibilities. We spend so much time taking care of our families, work relationships, our friends and the various circumstances that require all of our time and attention. We are either too tired to consider what we want, or we are at the end of a very long list. Then you add in the timeline. If you have had years of making decisions for others and anticipating their every need, our own muscles atrophy. We can “accidentally” take a crisis situation way past its due date AND continue taking care of people well beyond what they need. Now others are dependent on us and we are too tired to care.
You know the drill, you get home from a long day of work and it is just too much to listen to the kids bicker about not wanting to do the dishes and you find yourself thinking “it is just easier to do the dishes myself”.
Do you ever feel that there are just too many things to decide on in a day? I remember when my kids were younger they would always ask me the same question every day. “What’s for dinner?” Kayla bless her heart, in fourth grade came to me and offered some constructive advice. She thought it would be a good idea if I created a dinner menu for the month much like the school menu so that she and her sisters could know what we were eating each night, in advance. I am pretty sure I thanked her and then rolled my eyes (at myself) when she left the room.
I felt bad that I had no consistency in the meal planning. I just had too many things going on and I didn’t care what we ate for dinner. I kept saving the dinner question for each night right before dinner. Not the best strategy. Fast forward to meal planning these days and she was onto something.
I just didn’t understand how much I was impacted by all the choices I had to make in a day.
You might feel the same thing. In work, you make hundreds of decisions and problem solving all day long. At home, same thing, with everyone. And so when it comes to making decisions for yourself or even exploring who you are today and what you need, it feels like a huge algebra problem that can wait until another day.
Our brains get fatigued thinking all the time.
We need some things to be on autopilot to make room for decisions we actually care about.
Morning and evening routines are super important to help you make the “priority things” a habit, so that they are automatic and not even a thought. If you are in the habit of brushing your teeth every morning and evening, then when you get ready for work or bed, there isn’t a pause and a question. There is just simply moving straight into action.
If you run 2 miles every morning as part of waking up and getting fitness in before the day, you don’t wonder every morning what you are doing that day. You see, you are able to save your “what do I want?” questions for the more important things than all the everyday tasks. If we stop making ourselves choose everyday when we are brushing our teeth, if we are brushing our teeth, what we are going to wear to work, what we are going to eat for breakfast (at breakfast) or if we are going to workout that day. It is exhausting and then add to that everyone else’s piles and piles of questions.
If we automate a few things, plan ahead for others and create some mind space to think, we will have a better chance of having time to figure out what we want AND the desire to explore.
Automate the things in your life that are no brainers. Pick times to do things everyday at the same time. Then start planning. Pick out all of your outfits for the week, so you don’t have to come back to this same decision every morning. Do the same thing for meals. Plan them. If you don’t feel like eating something you have planned, just switch days.
If you have kids, have them write on the calendar what meal they want to cook and to give you the grocery list for their item. If it is mac and cheese, who cares? This is teaching them how to create routines and habits in their lives at a young age. Have them pick out clothes for the week, or at least the night before so that you aren’t sitting in the frustration of waiting for your kids and being late to school. When our lives get more streamlined, we just feel better. Remember to start small and then add to it as you get into routines and habits that feel good and are in ease.
Now, that you have a foundation. It is time to take some time TO CARE.
Who are you today?
What kinds of food do you like?
What style of home decor do you have?
Do you like to travel or prefer to stay home?
If on a date or out with friends, what would you order or drink?
We change so much with time. It is important to explore and redefine who you are today and what you want. If you can’t decide what you want at the store, how are you going to decide what you want out of life, a partner, a marriage, in a new career? Every few years I will take the time to take quizzes or create new Pinterest Boards to see how I have changed in my travel desires or wardrobe inspirations.
It is really important to try things on, just like in the movie, Runaway Bride when she didn’t know what kind of eggs she wanted. She took the time to try twenty or so kinds of eggs to figure out what she liked. When I take the time to get to know myself and who I am in this phase, making decisions is pretty easy.
I am not just reacting to life. I feel a little more in control and feel less like I am just the mother of everyone and everything, that my wants and needs are just as important. AND… it has to start with YOU. No one else will be able to make decisions for you.
They may try to give suggestions but only you will know if those new sleek black jeans or those knew Chloe boots actually feel good on. This is an inside job!
Inspired Lifestyle Podcast:
I hope you enjoy listening to this podcast. In this episode, I share more on finding out more on how to know what you want. Grab some coffee or tea and enjoy this conversation about how YOU matter.
I would love to hear in the comments what ways you find out more about yourself. Is it quizzes? Inspiration boards? In what ways are you discovering the new YOU?
So much love,
Xo Traci (& Kayla)