As an eternal Life Troubleshooter, I am on a constant mission to improve things. So I like to learn from people who have mastered whatever I am trying to achieve. I regularly consult experts in subjects ranging from health, business, relationships and, of course, the state of my home. I’ve noticed that there is one common idea in many of these varied realms which seems to make total sense. It goes like this:
If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got.
It seems obvious – if you want things to change, then things will have to, well…change. This is the difficult bit, and understandably so – there are reasons why we do things the way we do. I’m currently reading the fascinating Quiet (by Susan Cain) and it is just bursting with revelations about why I operate the way I do. (It appears I am something of an introvert. My family are not exactly shocked…) I find it enormously comforting to learn the causes behind my seemingly random or inexplicable actions. I was moved to tears when I discovered my Myers-Briggs profile. (INFJ, in case you’re wondering.) These eye-opening explanations can be really helpful in making sense of who we are.
But knowing why we do things our way doesn’t automatically change things. For that, we need to: do things differently. As Einstein famously quipped,
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing
over and over again and expecting different results.”
Now I can totally understand if you have been driven to insanity by Housewoek Overload (I have also visited that particular brink), but it’s probably not your ideal destination. So, in the hope of reaching a happier, healthier, more harmonious state, it may be time to shake things up a bit. Embrace the prospect of doing it differently. If the old way ain’t working, try a new way. Change what you normally do. If your current habits and responses aren’t taking you where you want to be, it’s time to reroute.
In business, smart new companies do a very clever thing which they call ‘modeling’. They look at how successful businesses are operating and…. they copy them. And why not? If someone has discovered how to do something well, there’s no need to revinvent the wheel every time, just follow their lead. If it’s a proven formula for the results you want, you don’t always need to be pioneer and blaze your own trail – they’ve done the hard work for you. All you have to do is be clever enough to learn what they’re doing right, then try out their techniques.
It’s the same with domestic stuff. Let’s say you know someone who has similar responisbilites and commitments to you and they manage to keep their home sparkly and spotless. Perhaps, you really admire how they stay on top of everything. You wonder, how do they do it? Well, if you could somehow uncover this information, you might find that their techniques and tactics could also work for you. If you know them well, you could just ask them how they do it. Or perhaps you could spend some time with them and just observe their habits and the things they do on autopilot. I’ll wager that there are many small things they do differently to those of us who struggle to keep the place half decent. Maybe they deal with the little jobs as soon as they see them. Or perhaps they have set routines for meeting regular challenges like Morning Rush Hour or Feeding Time At The Zoo. If they are getting the results you want – find out how.
Then when you are back in your own realm, you will have new options. You can choose to do it your old way, or you can give their technique a try. Just play with it, see how it works out. You may well find it’s the answer to your housekeeping prayers. Or you may find it’s just not how you like to operate. So keep searching for the solution that fits. (It will be out there somewhere).
For more success, in any realm, learn from those who are enjoying the results you want. You may find that you need to tweak their way to fit your particular situation, but at least you’ll have been inspired to think differently, to approach the problem from another angle – instead of the old default reaction which wasn’t really working out for you.
Be open to new ideas. Adopt winning formulas. Model.
So, if you have dreams of Domestic Goddesshood, just pause the next time you’re tempted to ignore/hide/run away from the mess, and ask yourself;