Saturday, February 8, 2014

Resolution Reality Check

Today we are already more than 5 weeks into our new year. How are your resolutions coming along?

Every year about this time, I do a resolution reality check. What is working? What isn't? What is getting in my way?

I want to use the same excuse each year: I don't have enough time. It's not true, of course, it's an excuse. Our true priorities do show in the way we use our time. What is true is this:

There are 168 hours in each week. I spend a modest 52 of those hours asleep How I spend the remaining 116 hours demonstrates what matters most to me. If you were sitting beside me right now, you would know that putting away the Christmas decorations did not make the list!

For this year's reality check, I sat down a made a list of the things I do each week that matter the absolute most to me. My list would look a lot different than yours, but I included 1.5 hours a day for cooking the healthy meals we all love, 6 hours a week for exercise and 7 hours a week for spiritual growth and blog writing. I included 4 hours a week for hubby and and an hour a day for the 5 kids in heart-to-heart time.  Everything else that is necessary was then included, such as laundry, bathing kids, driving people places, paperwork, computer work and so on. Then I added in a modest amount of service; only the things I am already doing that matter the most to me. When I added up only the essential (to me) things, I realized why some of my efforts have not succeeded. These things that are essential to our happy-home-happy-hearts maintenance take 162 hours a week.

The fact that I have only 6 "discretionary" hours a week came as quite a shock to me; more so when I looked at the very modest amount of time I allotted to actual housework and driving the kids around, both huge time drains.  Don't misunderstand. I'm not whining about it. Quite the opposite: I'm relieved. I was calling myself "lazy" and "a slacker" because I was finding it so challenging to keep my resolutions. In reality, I was just up against the clock and hadn't acknowledged it!

There is no immediate solution for me. I am not willing to give up the modest amount of service I perform at church and school, nor am I going to stop doing laundry! Since I can't manufacture more time in the week, the true "solution" is this: I will be aware of the actual limit on my time and choose carefully how I spend that 6 hour gift each week. You can bet it won't be watching Downton Abbey, unless ironing or exercising are also happening.

Now this is me. It's fair to assume that people with fewer than 5 children at home might fare a bit better, time-wise. Yet you might be astonished at how heavily committed you actually are!  Try this exercise if you find you are lacking resolve around your resolutions. And don't forget to include time for fun, relaxtion and re-fueling in your "important" list - take time for those people and activities that are life-giving to you. Let me know how you fare!