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Happy Monday!

I’m going to start the week on an honest and confessional note. One of my biggest personal weaknesses is avoidance. When I don’t want to deal with something, I ignore it…for days, weeks, months or even years. It’s not something that I’m proud of but it is something that I am ready to change. This is an issue that I have wanted to confront for months and I figure that it’s probably not something that I alone struggle with and I might find a lot of support by sharing it on my blog. So, I’m owning it. I avoid.

I generally consider myself to be a pretty ambitious, go-getter and communicative type of person but when something feels outside of my area of expertise, too technical or involved or just plain boring I ignore, ignore, ignore. And I’m not picky about the things that I avoid. Financial, personal, home, work…there are things I avoid on all fronts.


The thing about avoidance is that you can only ignore so much. There is always that little voice in the back of your head that reminds you that you eventually have to deal with whatever it is you are avoiding. It seems completely stupid that I allow things that I am perfectly capable of dealing with to make me feel so stressed and out of control. I find that when I do stop ignoring things and deal with them that I am always shocked by the sense of accomplishment and freedom it provides. And I must admit that it’s usually not as bad as what I was anticipating.

I know that change won’t happen overnight but beginning to take steps and address the issue feels like a good first step. My strategy is to write out the things that I have been avoiding and determine what steps I need to take to take care of it and assign myself a completion deadline or at least milestones.

Here are some things that I have been avoiding that I feel comfortable sharing publicly:

  • Retirement planning. I have several miscellaneous 401K accounts from past jobs that need to be rolled into an IRA that I actively contribute to. My plan is to meet with a financial planner in the next 30 days to sort this all out.
  • Financial/budget planning. I would like to become more in control of my budget and cash flow in and out. I want to create a set budget in which I put money aside for things like house projects and vacations as well as general savings and spending money. I also want to better understand my taxes and how I should structure my finances to maximize everything. I am hoping my financial planner can also help with this.
  • House upkeep. I have some issues going on with my roof and in my bathroom that stress me out every time I think of them. With the impending arrival of fall leaves and my complete terror that my gutters will all but fall off of my house if I don’t do something about it all, I am finally in action mode. I met with my roofer and we have a plan of action to take care of everything. It is not going to be fun but it will be worth it.
  • Teaching yoga. I quit teaching yoga back in June because I had so much going on with work and opening the new location. I also just needed to take a step back from teaching and focus more of my energy on taking care of me. Well, I miss it terribly and although I still do some privates at Metro and have been subbing at various studios around town, I am ready to have my own classes again. I hope to have a plan around that this week!
  • Car upkeep. My tags are due for renewal and I need to have my car inspected. Why is this the least fun task ever? I always avoid doing it. I will have my inspection done and my registration renewed by the end of the month.

This is far from an exhaustive list but it feels good to get some of it out there. I will keep you updated on my progress as I work through giving up avoidance as a coping mechanism and become more engaged and in control of my life.

Do you avoid? What strategies have you found work for dealing with it? And dare anyone else be willing to share something they’re avoiding and what you’re going to do about it?

And this has nothing to do with avoidance but I’ll lighten the mood a bit with this…

Guess who went to the Greek Festival this weekend!? It’s pretty much the culinary highlight of my year.

Greek salad, baked fish with tomatoes and feta, dolmade, pastitio, spanakopita.

And baklava. Quite possibly one of my favorite sweet treats in the world. Buttery, gooey, perfection.

{ 27 comments… add one }
  • 1
    Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life) September 17, 2012, 10:56 am

    I hate those pesky to-dos, but I usually try to tackle them before they drive me crazy. That being said, you have now reminded me that my 401k from my job from FIVE years ago is still in limbo. Why don’t I just roll it over to Schwab? I have no idea, but I’ve procrastinated on this forever. Ugh. Ok, I’ll look at it today.

    PS- I love the Greek festival!! I need to go this weekend. Thanks for the reminder! 🙂

  • 2
    Cheryl @ happy is the new healthy September 17, 2012, 11:07 am

    When it comes to finances, I’m the queen of avoiding things. For the longest time, I carried a balance on my credit card even though I had money in my account to pay it off. I’d spend so much money on magazines and other things that I didn’t really need–and I never kept track to see where my money was going. I’m working really hard on trying to just get real about it and own up to it.

  • 3
    Trish September 17, 2012, 11:14 am

    I am right there with you on avoidance. But it sounds like you’ve got a handle on things. Meeting with a financial planner is a great idea – they are so much help (at least mine is). Talk about avoidance – I was well into my 40s before I met with one. Like you I tend to have to handle most of it on my own -my husband’s job is all consuming and he has no time/interest to do any of the home maintenance, pet maintenance, financial etc stuff. It can get really overwhelming!

  • 4
    Jessica September 17, 2012, 11:16 am

    Jen – you are definitely not the only one with this problem! This post really hits the nail on the head for me. I’m the queen of avoidance. I really need to get my budget/finances in order, as well as figure out where I’m going with my career. Both of these stress me out immensely, so instead of dealing with them, I avoid them.

  • 5
    Tara September 17, 2012, 11:42 am

    I avoid things too!! When my fiance brings up something that has to do with student loan payments, finances, or anything that takes a lot of time and dedication to set up in the right direction and maybe isn’t the funnest…I just say “Can we talk about that later??” Luckily, he knows my avoidance tactics and can usually change my mind on the subject.!!

  • 6
    Addy September 17, 2012, 12:22 pm

    Haha, looks like we like to avoid the same things. I have some retirement funds that I need to roll over right now, and I am always pushing them to the back of my list. And car things? I am THE WORST. Even with washing and vacuuming it out,…ugh. Maybe a tri-annual occurrence? I like to bribe other people to do my automotive chores 🙂

    • 7
      Jen September 17, 2012, 12:32 pm

      i hear you on the washing and vacuuming. i just had it done saturday. it was in desperate need!

  • 8
    Bess @ Bess Be Fit September 17, 2012, 12:44 pm

    I actually am really bad at avoiding most things…they weigh me down and break me down so I just have to deal with them right then and there. So I guess it’s good that I get things done but I wish having things on my plate didn’t make me freak out so much…but I must get them done or I can’t relax.

  • 9
    Mary September 17, 2012, 12:58 pm

    I have a local financial planner (or two) I would be happy to recommend, if you are in the market for one.

    One of them is about our age and is very knowledgeable and helpful.

  • 10
    Gillian September 17, 2012, 1:14 pm

    Hey – long time reader, but first time commenter. I also avoid the really boring tasks! Currently, that task is renewing my health card and driver’s license after moving to a new province. Also, I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing but when I’m really avoiding something, I clean. Then I still feel like I’m getting something done without having to do the things I’m REALLY dreading. Anyway, thanks for the inspiration – I’ve decided to tackle my health card tomorrow!

  • 11
    Maggie September 17, 2012, 1:40 pm

    I love avoidance (well, not really, but you know what I mean). I’m especially good at avoiding financial things. And medical bills. Or things like getting renter’s insurance. I’ve definitely gotten better lately, but it can still be pretty bad.

  • 12
    Sana September 17, 2012, 1:44 pm

    I avoid looking at my bank account.

  • 13
    Erin September 17, 2012, 4:47 pm

    This is EXACTLY what I needed to read today. Thank you so much.

    I just started my freshman year of college at an Ivy League school. I was so excited to come to college and finally take upper level classes in all the subjects I enjoy. For the most part, this wish came true, except for math. I absolutely love math, and I’m good at it; I taught myself extra topics in calculus last year so that I could get into an upper level math class in college. I got what I wanted, but my professor is TERRIBLE. Apparently there are no good calc 2 professors here (I’ve looked into switching; I have the best of the worst). I literally don’t understand anything and honestly feel like I’m going to fail (I’ve never even gotten a B before!). I have a large set of homework problems due tomorrow morning, and I’ve been avoiding them all week. I finally sat down to them today… and I realized that some of them actually make sense. I spent the last hour working on them and got a large chunk done. I’m taking a break to read a few blogs before starting back; and found this post 🙂

  • 14
    Annie @ Annie's Cooking Lab September 17, 2012, 5:45 pm

    I’m glad to hear other people avoid things too!

    I JUST started getting on top of my finances a few months ago and I feel so much better about things. I’ve been using mint.com and really like it for the most part. I had a little trouble getting my bank to sync with it initially, but now it’s working great. I have budgets set up (and I’m following them!) and it’s nice to see where my money is going and how I can be saving more.

  • 15
    Miriam@Bellaspire September 17, 2012, 6:00 pm

    I totally feel you on this one. In fact, just listing everything out and coming up with a loose plan is often the hardest part. I bet you could accomplish all of your to do’s in a single day if you focused completely on each one at a time (no multitasking). Wake up early, run (to get it out of your system), meet with a financial planner first thing and spend the whole morning setting up an IRA and getting a 101 on taxes. Head home and during lunch long on to mint.com and link your accounts (I’m not using it anymore but it’s an amazing and safe resource). Once you’re done with this, head to go get your car errands done. While waiting (because you know there will be a wait), play around on mint.com some more and also give some final thoughts to your yoga plans and make a decision on when and where you want to teach. Run by the car wash (this always makes me seem like I have it together) on your way to grab up a celebratory fro yo to congratulate yourself for completing all your tasks!!! Seriously, you can do it Jen!! 🙂

  • 16
    Lindsay @ just a little organic September 17, 2012, 6:12 pm

    Wowza…are you reading my mind? This post just made me feel so good to know I’m not alone in hosting this “trait.” I was calling it procrastination, but you’re right, it’s just plain avoidance. I am having such a hard time planning my next moves it’s not even funny. I have been avoiding writing down plans (for career, blog, workouts, weekly meals, etc.) like the plague. Thanks for having the courage to share one of your weaknesses, and I send you tons of enouragement on your journey to change it. I’m sure you can do it, and I hope I can too! Now I’m avoiding the gym. 🙂

  • 17
    Alexis September 17, 2012, 6:15 pm

    Oh my gosh, this post is the story of my life!! I am the exact same way. It doesn’t help that I work crazy long days with a very inflexible schedule (basically 6am-6pm M-F is booked) and my husband is deployed, so I can’t rely on him to do these things. But I actually dealt with TWO of the things I’ve been avoiding this past weekend. I FINALLY had a plumber come to deal with not one, or two, but three plumbing issues that have come up over the last 2-9 months. Apparently I found it easier to just shower in the guest bathroom than to have a plumber come deal with the drain problem (turns out the stopper broke off and blocked up the entire drain! After the plumber left, I had an appointment to get that sound in my car looked at. Good thing I did, some gasket something or other was broken and apparently it was really bad that I’ve been driving it. It was a crappy and long Saturday for me, but the feeling of relief that I got from it made me really regret not doing it sooner! You’ll get it all done and it’ll suck, but be worth it in the end:)
    Now if only I’d call the dentist, write to my former thesis committee, and clean out our garage!

  • 18
    elizabeth September 17, 2012, 7:52 pm

    For years, I’ve been avoiding the fact that I can’t communicate well with my spouse. Very draining and frustrating to try because it just doesn’t and will not ever work, I think this is a major avoidance, but I am here choosing this, so I just try to let it go and live each day the best I can and not let others affect my energy too much.

  • 19
    Kayli (Running on Sunshine) September 17, 2012, 10:19 pm

    I am the WORST at avoiding! Like you, I consider myself a very ambitious person, but I’m very good at avoiding certain things. I’m terrible at keeping in touch with old friends and relatives. I feel so guilty about it that I avoid picking up the phone and calling them. I also avoid car maintenance. This weekend I’m going to carve out time to catch up with a few loved ones and get my oil changed! Thanks for the motivation 🙂

  • 20
    Annie September 17, 2012, 11:47 pm

    I would say the best way to tackle everything you want to accomplish is to make a list and cross stuff off when you have completed them. When I feel overwhelmed with stuff I have to get done, I always make a list. I even include things such as Laundry or exercise because I know I can easily complete those tasks and feel like I have gotten a head start on my long list of things to do.

  • 21
    Amelia September 18, 2012, 6:33 am

    That cartoon completely sums up my last five weeks. Enough said. 🙂

    Hoping everything goes better, especially the things that you like to keep private. No need to spill your whole life to the internet. 🙂

  • 22
    Allison at RunTriLove September 18, 2012, 6:59 am

    I totally avoid car maintenance because I know it will cost a lot. Right now I have 4 (yes 4) lights lit up on my dashboard. Instead of indicating what might be broken, I wish they would just light up as dollar signs to let me know how much it will cost. Something like $ for an oil change $$ for a new battery and $$$$ for a new carberator (that’s a car part, right?)

  • 23
    Pam September 18, 2012, 7:59 am

    I’m avoiding putting a workout plan into action! I LOVE exercise but I’m in a RUT! I normally lift 2 x’s a week, yoga 2 x’s, and cardio 5 x’s but lately I’ve found every excuse to just skip all of it and I feel terrible! As a result of not moving my eating has been all over the place! I so needed to read this post! Thanks for sharing! I’ve written out a plan and set a goal for the rest of Sept. and Oct. Here’s to doing not avoiding!

  • 24
    Clara September 18, 2012, 8:57 am

    Ooooh I think we can definitely all relate to this post. I dealt with the 401k thing last year. It felt like such a pain but it was much easier than I anticipated and felt oh so good when it was all done. I’m also feeling unhappy with my current budgeting attempts. I haven’t gotten into the rhythm of working for myself and following a steady budget- regardless of my client load, so that’s big on my to do list. It really comes down to getting my business bank account in order which is aaaalmost done, but this post is definitely giving me the final push to get it there! Hope you’re having a good week! xx

  • 25
    Miki September 18, 2012, 9:16 am

    Yay! Can’t wait until you start teaching yoga again! Let me know when and where!

  • 26
    erin September 18, 2012, 9:19 am

    Phone calls! I avoid anything that involves picking up the phone–not calling friends and family, more like “call the insurance guy” etc. I have no idea why I avoid this, but I do. I’m pretty good about tackling everything else, but that’s only because I have a planner where I write down everything I need to do, from workout schedules to laundry to mailing bills. Crossing things off my daily list feels way better than avoidance–unless it means calling someone!

  • 27
    Lea @ Greens and Coffee Beans September 20, 2012, 7:34 am

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who avoids things! I tend to avoid things that stress me out, like tackling a huge pile of e-mails, putting off writing a huge paper, procrastinating working on a presentation. It’s a dumb habit, because if I just sat down and worked on those things they would be done so much sooner and wouldn’t stress me out as badly. I’m trying to work on it though!

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