My last couple of days – make that weeks – ok possibly YEARS, have been a little bit frustrating. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some amazing days, weeks, etc. but the frustration has been tough to tackle. Why am I not closer to where I want to be in life? Why do I disappoint myself over and over in the areas of fitness (tryna lose that baby weight, y’all…like my youngest is almost 2. Let’s get ‘er done!!), my relationship with God, my business, my blogging, my personal habits, the cleanliness of my home, my discipline with my children, the list goes on. That’s not to say that there hasn’t been any growth – there has. But I could be and probably should be so much further along than I am. I thought it was an issue of self worth and insecurity. I thought I was just comparing my worst to everyone else’s best. That’s what this post was supposed to be about: not letting comparison steal your joy and zest for life. But I got real honest with myself and the Lord spoke to me. He asked me a question, which he usually does to get me thinking. He asked me this very important question:
Are you giving your best, every. single. day?
I absolutely knew the answer to that question. Without a doubt, my answer is no. No way I’m giving my all every single day. I may be tired or stressed or worn out, but the truth is, if I were to stop and think about it, giving my best would alleviate a lot of those feelings, or at least make them a bit more worthwhile. Let me explain.
Stuck In a Rut: What Do I Do All Day?
Do I work hard? Absolutely. But what if there were a way to work just as hard as I usually do, but get more accomplished, feel better about myself and my life, and actually see some hard earned progress take place? I believe there is a way. As a stay at home mom, my average day consists of trying to squeeze as much sleep out of the morning as I can. Then taking nearly two hours to fully wake up, all while stumbling around, crankily, making coffee, breakfast, checking my phone for all the various notifications it contains. At that point it may be 9 or 10 o’clock. Then I make a choice between getting the kids outside for the morning or cleaning up the disaster of an apartment that typically is the state of our home. Then there’s lunch, followed by nap. During nap, I have a ton of options for what I could accomplish. But I usually choose the “kick back & relax” route. Because I deserve it, right? I’ve been incessantly interrupted all morning by little people, tending to their every need, I woke up before I wanted to and I need a break! That’s usually my reasoning. Not all wrong, but there’s more. After nap, it’s another slow start to get moving. I have the same choice before me to either pick up some more or take the kids back outside to play. Sometimes I let them play out back while I fold laundry. Then it’s time to make dinner, bathe the kids, and put them to bed. By the end of all that it could be 8:30 or 9 pm. Do you think I want to take care of anything that I didn’t get done while the kids were awake?? Heck, no! So I usually don’t.
That’s my typical day. Now, there are some days when I do more, or try to accomplish a project. But I’d say this is the pattern and routine I’ve settled into. Does it look anything like your day? If you work a job during the day, does it look like your evenings and weekends? I’m making myself pretty vulnerable here and I’m sure there are some of you type-A people who are thinking, “this girl is laaaaaazy.” Haha! And while I’d like to disagree, there are times when I know I am being lazy. I know I was created for more. That I’m totally capable of doing more. So why don’t I? Why don’t you?
Change is Uncomfortable.
It’s been suggested to me by various people to create a schedule for my day, make lists of what I want to accomplish, prioritize my day. Do the thing you least want to do first thing so you can get it over with! These are all fantastic suggestions. And I might do them once in a while. But it’s not fun. It’s uncomfortable. I like spontaneity and being able to do what I want to do, when I want to do it. I feel smothered by a schedule and have found it oppressive. I get extreme guilt when I don’t get everything on the list done – or when I try to do too much and feel I’ve ignored my children all day to do it. So what then? Is that it? I guess we have to decide (you and me) whether we prefer to stay where we are because it’s comfortable, or stretch ourselves until the uncomfortable becomes comfortable. At which point we will most likely need to stretch ourselves again.
Change the Way You Think
The thoughts we have about life and about ourselves literally chart our course in life. If I think I can’t do something, I’m right. But if I think I can, I’m also right. Does any one else find that concept as incredible as I do?? I mean. The mind is such a powerful thing! What we think precedes what we speak. When we speak something, our mind hears it and it reiterates itself. So the more we say things like, “I just can’t work off of a schedule” or “I don’t have time to do everything” or “I’m too tired and stressed” the more our mind believes those things to be true, even if they aren’t actually true. So how do we change the way we think about ourselves and our situations? Do we just try really hard? Let’s be honest, how well has that worked out so far? Right. So that’s a no. The only way I know how to change the way I think, is to change the way I speak. I can be proactive about speaking the right words. If that means writing the right words on my bathroom mirror where I see them everyday or going so far as to draft up some index cards, that’s what I need to do. What are the “right” words? Whatever words will speak positive change into the area you want to be different. You can choose scripture to help get your mind and body on the right track. For example, Phil 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” The words I plan to use are also responses to the incorrect ways I’ve been thinking. Instead of saying, “I don’t have time to do all the things I need to do. I’m so overwhelmed!” I can write and then speak the words, “I am productive. I prioritize my time and I focus. I will accomplish what I can today.” Simply reading the words to yourself is not enough. It takes hearing them out loud to truly change the way you think. You might feel silly saying these things at first, especially if you don’t really believe them yet. But give it time. I’m right there with ya!
How to Have a Great Day Every Day
So how do we make sure we give our best everyday, and end up with the best life God has for us? That may look different for each person. As far as I’m concerned, I need to learn to work from a schedule. When I have too much unstructured time, I’m unproductive. Understanding that about myself is an important start to improving that aspect of my life. Here is my super ambitious daily schedule for you as an example. I haven’t implemented it yet, so it may need tweaking. But one of the most important things for me (and possibly for you too!) is to just start somewhere. It doesn’t have to be perfect at the start. But if we wait for perfection, we’ll forever stay exactly where we are.
Amanda’s Daily Schedule
5:30 am Wake up & go for a run
6:00 Quiet time with God
7:00 Make Breakfast
8:00 Play with kids
9:00 Do Chores
10:30 Spend time with kids outside, playing, reading, teaching (prek)
1:00 pm Nap, Work on Business
3:00 Play with kids/outside
4:00 Quick house pick up/Start dinner
5:00 Cook Dinner
6:30 Bathe kids/Clean up Dinner
7:00 Get kids ready for bed, read books
7:30 Kids in Bed
8:00 Time with Spouse
10:30 Get ready for bed
11:00 Lights out, phone down
Print your own schedule template here: Daily Schedule Printable
At the end of each day, I want to be able to ask myself the question, “Did I give my very best today?” and answer with a resounding and satisfying, yes!! I have struggled with feelings of inferiority and insecurity. I have wondered where those feelings came from. I think they come from knowing that I’m not being the best version of myself and knowing that I am capable of so much more. When we are striving to be our best each day, our feelings of self worth and inner pride (the good kind!) can’t help but increase. Say goodbye to guilt and minimal effort. Let’s make each day a great one, give ourselves grace when we mess up and start each day fresh. Love you, friends! You can live a great life!