Turns out I’ll do almost anything for chocolate

I tried everything.

Begging, pleading, sticker charts, gold stars, making it public, ignoring it and hoping it would get better.

No, I’m not talking about toilet training (although that turned out to have the same solution, I’m afraid).  No, what I’m talking about getting all my chores done every day.

It’s not like I was buried under the dishes or trying to dig my way out of a six-foot pile of laundry.  Everyone was still fed and clothed (not the cats – we don’t clothe animals around here) and I ran the vacuum here and there.

But the constant clutter was wearing me down, each misplaced item a paper cut to my spirit.  I knew if I could just tackle these ten items each day, then I would regain some {illusion of} control over my life, and would maybe even have time to create and meet new goals.

Yet every day, I would get through about four of them before collapsing on the couch and telling my husband to pass the remote.  I felt worn down by just the constant maintenance that keeping up with the boys requires, and it seemed like I never had time to just get through what should be a simple list.  How hard can it be to just wash the dratted dishes every night so I could start with a clean sink every morning?  Yet I would merely scowl at them and check out the latest Netflix offerings instead.  I’d catch up on the weekend, vow to do better next week, and be back at square one by Wednesday.

Until I discovered the truth about myself.  One night, despairing over both my undone chore calendar and my unshrinking waistline,  I declared to my husband that I could not, would not have dessert at night until I did every single thing on my daily list.  I assumed this would mean that I would only get dessert once or twice a week, which I figured was a good thing.  Because after all, I’d tried every habit-shaping device I could think of, and I was beginning to accept that the list was more of a guideline, really, much like the Pirate Code.

Turns out, being exhausted at 8 p.m. means that I am so desperate for some sweet return on the trials of the day that I am willing to zip through those chores. It doesn’t matter what it is, really, though Ben & Jerry’s is still my reward of choice.  But I will do ’em all even for a Hershey’s kiss or two.  Two straight weeks of getting ten lovely checkmarks each day, I thought I had it nailed.  I let the cookie jar empty out and thought my daily habit had finally been created.

Four disappointing days of failure later, I bought some Vanilla Heath Bar Chunk, chugged through the list, and vowed never to be without chocolate again.

My waistline may not recover, but my house looks pretty freaking good.

Now I wonder what it will take to get the garage cleaned out…

8 Responses to Turns out I’ll do almost anything for chocolate
  1. Gramma
    August 23, 2011 | 8:12 am

    Great post! I’m finding that I can be productive for OTHERS so they have time to play with children, deal with tasks, etc…, but cannot work up that altruism for my own house (or academics!). Now, the sheer terror of deadlines or visitors can get me moving. Alas, it is a temporary frenzy, not a solid habit….yet

    • Jessica@Team Rasler
      August 24, 2011 | 4:12 pm

      It’s true, a deadline or visitor gets me hopping. Adrenaline is amazing fuel!

  2. Aunt Julie
    August 23, 2011 | 12:16 pm

    I love the post, Jessica! The best part was that I now have a new chocolate treat to look for in the stores – I’ve never heard of Vanilla Heath Bar Chunk!
    Don’t worry about your waistline – you look great! Pretty soon, you’ll be able to delegate some of those clutter chores to the boys who will gladly help you until their, oh about 15 and 12! ; )

  3. Scott
    August 23, 2011 | 3:21 pm

    “MMmmmmm…Vanilla Heath Bar Chuunnnnk!!” said the Heath Bar Flurry freak. “DAMNED the waistline!…full speed ahead ye scurvy dogs!”
    (fan of the pirate code parallel)

  4. Rach @ This Italian Family
    August 23, 2011 | 3:23 pm

    Haha! I’m so glad you found a way to motivate yourself to get things done. 🙂 I bet you will get the garage in tip top shape in no time! 🙂

  5. grandpa
    August 23, 2011 | 6:22 pm

    I say you should request the kids in your class should write a list of their favorite chocolate trwat served in their house. You are bound to receive some decent selections.

  6. Jennifer
    August 24, 2011 | 11:17 am

    LOL! You and me both, sister! If it isn’t Rice Krispy treats, it’s oatmeal raisin cookies. If it isn’t cookies, it’s ice cream. I can’t win. Now, I just make sure that I get through my To-Do list “vigorously” enough to burn the same amount of calories I’ll eventually consume in sugar… So far, not so good… 😉

  7. Aunt Mary
    September 3, 2011 | 4:41 am

    Hmmmm…..not a bad idea. I try to get things done here, also, but run out of steam. It usually takes some sort of deadline to get things done…going out of town (although, that doesn’t always work), people coming over, rearranging furniture. I sorta like your idea better!! 🙂
    Love you

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