Every year at the end of August I become almost alarmingly motivated. After years of conditioning I now associate the first week of September with ushering in a new academic year, the thrill of starting new classes, meeting new friends, and best of all, “Back to School” shopping. With the disabling heat of summer now fading, I am ready to take on the world and take a shot at everything I’ve ever put on my to-do list. Like Elle Woods walking into Harvard, I have more confidence in myself in September than I do any other time of year.
So naturally, by October I’m burned out. These days it is my kid’s school year that I’m launching every September and I’ve loaded my plate so full of to-dos that nothing gets done. I’m tired, cranky and the exciting year I’ve planned for our homeschool year is getting by on the bare minimum of what I have to do, and everything I wanted to do gets pushed to the back burner (and inevitably cancelled right around New Years).
A Needed Change
It has taken awhile to see my folly in doing this every year. Rather than focusing on the one or two goals that really matter in this season, I try to fit them all in, as if I can make up for all that lost time only this year it will somehow be different.
It’s not. It never will be. We all get the same amount of hours in the day to make what we can of the time we have here.
So how can I stop this pattern of over-planning and under-performing every year? How do I break this cycle for real this time (and not getting sucked back into do-it-all mode)?
This year I am focusing my time on three foundational goals that will be the springboard of any other goal I have for myself, for the rest of my year (and life): Homeschooling my kids to the best of my ability, exercising/making healthier meals for myself and my family, and making prayer & devotion time my first priority of the day.
All of them are based around my day and since our daily rhythm is off-beat it makes everything more stressful. Figuring out what to eat for dinner is stressful. Finding time to do the kids’ schoolwork is stressful. I feel like anything can happen at any moment and I’m just not prepared for it.
To be honest, I feel really discouraged that these have been on my “Goals” list for so long. I think if I had really focused my time & energy I could have achieved all of them years ago. But since I can’t go back in time and redo any of my first, second or tenth tries, that lost time is now the expensive cost of this lesson.
Praise the Lord that today is a new day to get up and try again, while diligently reminding myself that I am not perfect and big changes take time and commitment.
“Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” Psalm 62:8
Setting Godly Goals
Now, the Lord is perfect, and He is where my focus should be throughout each day. The one silver lining of this crisis of underachievement is that even though I feel like I am failing, I’m failing forward. I haven’t given up on my prayers and devotions. I know it is something I need, but I’ve been wrestling with scheduling devotions and prayer time into a crazy busy schedule when in all reality it needs to be my first impulse of the day. Personal prayer time and Bible reading are critical to my sanity. If I’m not rooted in the will of the Almighty every morning, I am a scattered mess at the mercy of whatever seems most urgent at each moment, all day long. I want to be a prayerful person and I believe I was created to be.
So now that the cat’s out of the goal-bag and I’ve made my hopes of waking up early public I’m hoping to actually hold myself accountable to it. I expect to update you soon of my success. If not, I will update you on my evening devotions, which isn’t really a loss especially since it’s time spent with the Lord. If you are a morning person and have any tips for me please share! I need all the help I can get. 😉
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