I started this new year off with a bang! Well…at least in my head I did. I was so ready for January 1 to arrive so things could be swept clean, organized, and returned to normalcy after the blessed craziness of the holidays. I’m one of those people who loves to put up the Christmas decorations the first weekend of December while humming carols and sipping hot cocoa…but I also love taking them down and restoring order to our home. There’s something so naturally invigorating about starting off the year that it motivates me to do all sorts of organizing projects.
Throughout the holidays I could feel myself making a mental list of all the things I wanted to do. In my head I’d be doing them “on January 1st.” My mental list got longer, and longer, and longer until it was painfully clear there was no human way to accomplish all of it in one day. No problem, I thought. I’ll give myself the whole first week of January to get it done. And then the list got longer still.
At some point, I started to get stressed about how much I wanted to accomplish and how behind I already felt, before I’d even started. I could feel myself brimming with anxiety and so I tried to explain how I was feeling to my husband, the best listener on earth.
He looked at me, took a deep breath, and calmly asked me why everything on my list had to be done the first week of January.
Well! Because it just does…have you looked at this house lately? Seriously. Humph. After ranting around in a fit of exasperation for a few minutes, I finally took a breath and actually processed his question. Why did it all have to be done the first week of January?
And do you know what? I had absolutely no good reason why.
Right then and there, I gave myself permission to extend my self-imposed deadline for my very long to-do list. I got realistic with myself about when I’d actually find the two hours I needed to purge our files, the hour I’d need to scrub out the refrigerator, the four hours I’d need to really go through our closet and drawers. I searched my calendar for a few free days to hold my own annual planning retreat for my business and blocked them off. I penciled in dates to sort and store outgrown children’s clothes, to research a new software program I need, and to organize the toy closet. You get the idea. I gave myself some time. No one else could do it for me.
Isn’t it always like that? We have an idea and want to execute it right now. We want immediate results. But we each get 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week. And sometimes, if we can just take a breath and lift our heads up for a moment, we can give ourselves the gift of time to accomplish all that we desire without losing our minds in the process. No matter what you’ve resolved to do this year, will you give yourself the time you really need to accomplish it? No one else can do it for you.