You Can Do Anything…But Not Everything

You Can Do Anything…But Not Everything

you can do anything but not everything I Greater Than Rubies

Are you a try-to-do-it-all-er? Cramming your schedule full {of all good things} and feeling stressed and overwhelmed and like you’re failing a lot of the time? Let’s be friends.

This has been the story of my life. There are so many good things I want to be part of. But I’ve stretched myself and our schedule to the max. It’s time to dial back, y’all!

Oftentimes, when there’s something God needs to teach me, He’ll show me over and over and over and over and over again. I’m thankful He loves me enough to keep after me to get it right.

Lately, it’s been the creation of margin in my life.

Because I’m a Christ follower, the most important thing is loving God and loving people, hands down. If I’m honest, those fall to the wayside of my to do list much too frequently.

So I’m taking one step at a time to narrow down my to do’s. I’ve chosen a couple things to create as habits per month, and everything else I happen to accomplish is icing on top.

January covered:

  1. Making prayer a part of my morning Bible study routine.
  2. Watching only 1 TV show a day.
  3. Automating our finances.

I’ve experimented with tracking this and have gotten to a place that works for me. I make a small checklist every day with the 3 things and the next morning, I check off what I did. I missed days on all of them, but intentional evaluation of my progress helped make these things habits I think will stick. It’s important to figure out what works for you.

How did it go?

  • Prayer: I don’t do well with praying consistently if I’m not writing it down. {I will fall asleep or get distracted by something else…sorry, Jesus.} I started using an outline I read in one of Beth Moore’s studies as a springboard.
  • TV: Too many times, I’ve started a season of something on Netflix and “couldn’t” stop. {Darn you, Netflix, and your brilliant auto-cue of the next show!} Once I saw the benefits of trading screen time for making memories with Troy or moving forward on a goal, I didn’t want to watch as much as I had before.
  • Finances: This was more of a goal than a habit, but will save a ton of time and willpower. Troy and I read Ramit’s I Will Teach You To Be Rich at the end of last year, and wanted to automate our finances. To make it less overwhelming, I worked on getting all that up and going in 30-60 minute chunks per day.

I’ve narrowed down to one habit* for February. Bob Goff’s Love Does made me realize that I think a lot about ways I can show people love but follow through on a small percentage of those ideas. Love does things, so I want to expose my excuses and follow through!

Are you all about this kind of stuff? Or just want a community to encourage you in moving forward in a goal? Join in! Share in the comments what you plan to do. I’ll be giving a monthly recap throughout 2014, and would love to have you share your progress!

*I chose to narrow my habit forming to one item from here on out. As I was prepping for this post, I looked into the “fact” I’d heard somewhere that it takes 28 days to make a habit stick. According to a UCL study, it can take up to 66 days to form one. No wonder we feel stressed when we hit the 21 or 28 day mark and it’s still tough. Keep going and simplify!

PS Linking up with The Tiny Twig’s February goals.

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  • Selah January 29, 2014 at 10:09 AM

    My January habit was to get dressed in real clothes every day (something I could leave the house in). The Winter Remix helped a lot in keeping me motivated – and I think getting my other clothes back will help motivate me in February. :)
    My February habit is to eat breakfast every morning. I read aloud to my kids during breakfast, which is great and I love it, but I often end up only drinking coffee. I need to start eating first!
    I was just commenting the other day on how grateful I am that my parents limited our activities when I was a kid. We were each allowed 2 (there were 4 kids, so we were still busy). I have fun memories of choir rehearsals / performances and dance classes, but I also have plenty of wonderful memories of time spent with my family.
    One of my greatest joys as a mom is spending time with my kids – not running them to countless activities, but reading to them, playing board games with them, or just laughing at all the funny things they do & say.

    • Caitlin Author January 30, 2014 at 7:33 AM

      Selah, those are incredible habits! I’m looking forward to the rest of my closet, too! Loved hearing more about your family- you are such a good mama! You better believe I’ll be looking to you for advice one day when the little Skidmores come along :)

  • RA January 29, 2014 at 10:23 AM

    One of my 4 actions for the year is “make space.” I want to do this in physical space (purge clothes, jewelry, shoes, and craft supplies), time (guard the stay-at-home nights with my husband), and pressure (read fewer books). So far, I think I’m doing pretty well with this, except that I’m starting to book my mornings with breakfast dates, which leaves me less time to do the things I would normally do during that time (exercise, housework). It’s all a learning process, though. Even just setting the goal to “make space” helps remind me to keep it a priority.

    • Caitlin Author January 30, 2014 at 7:34 AM

      Love this! What a great way to think about time. Please keep us updated! I’d love to hear more as you create and guard the space in your life.

    • Rachel Nordgren February 7, 2014 at 1:51 PM

      Making space is an excellent goal! Good for you! I’m pursuing a similar goal this year…my husband and I are focusing on minimizing (possessions, stress, relationships, commitments, etc.) and it’s been very liberating. If you haven’t already, I would highly recommend reading the book “7” by Jen Hatmaker. Although, it sounds like reading fewer books is part of your “making space” goal!

      • Caitlin Author February 7, 2014 at 6:40 PM

        I also highly recommend 7! It changed my life.

  • Iris January 29, 2014 at 10:43 PM

    This is great, Caitlin! I have been so overwhelmed lately! One thing that I’ve been doing consistently lately is getting my kids up at the same time every morning, which means I’m pushing myself to get up before them at the same time every morning, and having breakfast together. I spend some quality time with my kids, and I get the nutrients needed to help me start my day. By eating breakfast (I used to skip it) I find myself eating healthy snacks throughout the day, and I’m eating healthier meals too. I just started a new semester/quarter so I’m doing my best to stay on top of my grading so I don’t get overwhelmed having to bring work home or stress out when it’s interim/report card time. And of course, in the area of clothing, I’m trying to stick to “comfy momma” and “comfy teacher” formula outfits that work for me and make me feel good about going about my day.

    • Caitlin Author January 30, 2014 at 7:36 AM

      Sorry to hear you’ve been overwhelmed, Iris. It seems like the conscious decision to discipline yourself in one area carries over to others- and like you said, it’s a process! Keep it up- you’re doing a great job!!

  • Felicia January 30, 2014 at 10:42 PM

    Go Caitlin! Keep it up. I agree, one at a time is sometimes more than enough. I continue to work on my spending and the reasons behind it. Spiritually, mentally and physically, it evokes certain things within me that I need to reign in. I set and met a $20 budget for January that I NAILED!!!! I’m so excited about it I included the link.

    Thanks for the accountability. This is something I will be working on this year…and the rest of my life.

    • Caitlin Author February 1, 2014 at 8:49 AM

      Way to go, Felicia! That’s incredible. I’ve been amazed at how deep the ties to spending go, and I’m so proud of you for considering them for yourself.

  • Alison February 4, 2014 at 3:17 PM

    I have been meaning to read Bob Goff’s book and am similar to you in that I don’t have a lot of follow-through on my big ideas sometimes. One of my goals this year is to show more hospitality and love. Thanks for the book rec!

    • Caitlin Author February 5, 2014 at 7:53 AM

      My pleasure! I hope you like it.

  • Beth @ the goad abode February 5, 2014 at 7:02 AM

    I really need to read “Love Does” -what a great encouragement to follow through on ideas (it can certainly be a challenge)!

    • Caitlin Author February 5, 2014 at 7:54 AM

      Beth- yes! It is so good. And thank you!

  • Rachel Nordgren February 7, 2014 at 1:56 PM

    “There are so many good things I want to be part of. But I’ve stretched myself and our schedule to the max. It’s time to dial back, y’all!”

    YES! Caitlin, I know right where you’re at. Simplifying is a great (and underrated) discipline that I think a lot of people forget about. When we remove the excess, we make room for the important.

    I think it’s great that you’re scaling down to one focus for the month. I have 5 main areas that I am working on (spiritual, marital, self-care, creating, and minimizing), so I pick a goal from each of those areas every month to work on. All of them tie back to my main goal for the year – Simplifying – because I want to focus on the things God has called me to, and jettison the rest.

    • Caitlin Author February 7, 2014 at 6:44 PM

      I love that, Rachel. “When we remove the excess, we make room for the important.” So wise. I like the way you’re going about your simplification. I’m definitely interested in hearing how your “experiment” goes! Have you read Becoming A Woman of Simplicity by Cynthia Heald? I think you would love it!

      • Rachel Nordgren March 16, 2014 at 5:04 PM

        I have not read it! I will add it to my (extensive…lol) list! Thank you for the suggestion!

        • Caitlin Author March 17, 2014 at 8:07 AM

          Lol! Glad I could return the favor! I got a big list from your Simplicity post! Ha :)

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