Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Pairing Activities

There are plenty of things I don't actually want to do throughout the course of my day, month, year.  Right now we are in the "renew all our adoption paperwork" annual dance we do.  It always makes us a little grouchy, having to go get fingerprinted, again, especially because the current location is a little sketchy.  We go to our physicals which are mostly fine besides having to go back to have a TB test read 48 hours later, always a pain.

I know it's what we have to do, I just get a little grouchy about, then suck it up and do the paperwork, make the appointments, write the check, and then we are good for another year.

I didn't want to go and have a 2 hour physical with a 4 year old (who also needs a physical so I have to take him).  So we treated ourselves to a super rare fast-food lunch.  (Also, the fact that we didn't get out of the doctor's office until 12:30 and we were starving played a big role in making that decision.)  It cost $5 and made the day a little bit special and saved me from the "what should we have for lunch" panic when getting home with a carload of groceries and a hungry kid at 12:45.
It reminded me of the idea of pairing activities. Something I don't like with something I do.  I'm not entirely sure how it's all that different from rewards but thinking of it as pairing activities instead makes it sound a little better, in my head at least.

Some other examples:

Every time Luke gets a shot (which isn't very often anymore), we get Culver's ice cream.  Makes the shot experience a little better for everyone.

Anytime I run on Sunday, something I am somewhat loathe to do, especially if we didn't go to church the night before and thus I am already showered & clean from Sunday morning Mass, I get my favorite raspberry coconut smoothie.  Only on Sundays, only post-run.  It helps me get out the door when I don't feel like it.

(Besides my frozen cokes, which only happen a few times a year) We only get gas station fountain drinks on long road trips.  Like, 12+ hour road trips so every few years.

Although, we do get McDonald drinks (I enjoy their sweet tea, mixed with unsweetened tea and lemonade and it's delightful) when doing shorter but still long (2+ hour) road trips. 

Do I have any non-food related examples?  Maybe I do...

The Popcast is one of my favorite podcasts and the new episodes are released on Wednesdays which just so happens to be when I do my toughest basement workout for the week.  My treat for doing the tough workout is listening to my favorite podcast (bonus: sometimes I am laughing so much I have to take an extra breather from my workout).

The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey is another favorite and I always listen to that podcast on my way to work (and back if I haven't finished it) which can give me something to look forward to on work days as well as make the sometimes long car trips less tedious.

When I have (rare) solo doctor appointments I take along a book I'm excited about reading which makes waiting so much more bearable instead of just being a pain and a time waste on my phone.  When I have Luke with me, we take along Berenstain Bear books which we both enjoy reading and much better than being stuck with whatever the doctor's office has available (usually not much).

Could these all just be considered rewards?  Maybe, especially the food ones.  INSTEAD, I choose to think of it as wisely pairing activities or things I might dread with other things that I might look forward to. It makes me feel like a healthier, well adjusted person instead of one who needs rewards to get through some of the less enjoyable parts of life.  You know, whatever helps me sleep better at night and justify drinking a gallon of McDonald's sweet tea.

What about you, how do you pair activities to make the less enjoyable ones a little better?  (I'm sure I have more non-food examples, I must just be really hungry right now.)  Please share!

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