just one.

Sometimes I tend to overload myself when I feel a change is in order in my life. I step back and see all that is amiss and feel motivated to change it ALL.

to cut out ALL tv,
to organize EVERY room,
to clear out ALL clutter,
to study the scriptures for 3o uninterrupted minutes EVERY day,
to eliminate ALL whining,
to exercise AT LEAST 3 times a week,
to get dressed EVERY day,
to OVERHAUL my family's diet,
to get to bed by NINE THIRTY,
to be up by SIX THIRTY,
to mop my floor once EVERY week,
to do ALL of my laundry in one day,
to come up with a NEW and IMPROVED menu/meal plan...

...and then Austin doesn't sleep well the night before the day I plan on implementing it ALL, and NONE of it lasts more than a day or so. I've learned to hate to do lists because I'm a very demanding boss who is always giving myself more to do than I could ever realistically get done given my current situation. (Have I never had kids? Don't I know what it's like to try to get anything done with 4 boys underfoot? Really, you'd think I'd be more sensitive to my situation...)

So I've found that if I see the need for change, even vast, far-reaching change, I should only change ONE thing, do it for ONE week, then see how it has impacted the rest of my life and continue if I choose to, but not add anything else until that change is either a habit, or something I consciously decide to do without.

I think sometimes I want drastic changes, and I have interventions, and those are good things if they are only meant to get me out of a rut. But if I'm looking for a lasting, overall improvement, I need to spend less time on EVERYTHING and hone in on the ONE thing that would really help me. The one thing that even if the boys are all cranky and I didn't get a wink of sleep the night before, I could still get this one thing done in the 16+ hours I have during the day.

Like with my diet change, we decided to buy whole grain whole wheat bread, no more white. Other than that, our diet is about the same for now. I haven't cut out sugar as much as I know I should, and my kids still have frosted flakes from time to time. But overall health is still on my mind when I write up my grocery list and this week we had whole wheat pasta one day and chicken, rice, and lentil soup on another. Baby steps, see?

This week all I expect out of myself is ONE load of laundry EVERY day. wash. dry. fold. put away. So far I'm 2 for 2, and already my house is seeming more manageable in general. I feel good about accomplishing that one thing I set out to do, and it motivates me to do a little better in other areas. Anything I accomplish beyond that one load is just a bonus and I feel like I'm a lap ahead, rather than drowning. I don't get discouraged, and I do get satisfaction, which leads to greater productivity. Not to mention a more cheery attitude about my life, my boys, my home.

Plus, as my friend Kylie said "nobody likes an over-achiever." And I think it's better to be liked than to be really on the ball=)


  1. I agree no one likes an over achiever. I think one thing at a time is good because otherwise it's hard to get your arms around everything at once. At least that is true for me.

  2. I couldn't agree more. Just a few months ago I started the "one thing" to-do list and it has made all the difference, not only in my happiness, but in my house, oddly enough. You'd think if I was planning to do a lot on the house, you'd see a lot of change. But I see the most change when I plan on doing one thing each day. Maybe it's because those "one things" are more permanent additions to my life. I only have one new year's resolution this year, and it's not even that spiritual or impressive. I just want to conquer laundry in my life. By conquer, I mean figure out how to get on top of it and stay on top of it instead of my typical cycle of get way behind, stop all life to catch up on the looming laundry tower, and then have it happen again. I've made a lot of improvement in that area in 2010, and my favorite thing that has made a difference is one-load-each-day rule. It's too funny how similar we are! I can't wait to see you!

  3. Well, if you are as much as a under-achiever as you are professing, then consider yourself retaining one more friend, heh heh.

  4. Sometimes I give myself crazy to-do lists, just to set myself up for failure and give myself an excuse to not do it. Pretty bad!

    I do see the benefits of mastering one thing before moving on to the next. Line upon line. hahaha

  5. Your ending line made me laugh! Right, nobody likes an over achiever. Great thing to keep in mind :)))!

  6. I am always getting overwhelmed by my grand plans. I think focusing on one thing and taking small reasonable steps is smarter (and less frustrating).

  7. Great insight! Now get that load of laundry done. =)

  8. LOVE that ending line! I need to revamp my laundry routine too because I've been trying to do it all in one day... it certainly all gets washed in one day but then often sits around un-put-away for days.... ugh. I should take your advice! I get antsy to overhaul everything at the same time too!

  9. My wish-I-could-do list is right there with yours! Noel watches way too much tv and I beat myself up over it every day. And setting a budget and actually following it would be helpful. And eating more veggies would be nice, which of course would mean I need to pick my meal plan back up. And Noel's toy box is exploding from toys that hardly get played with... oh sigh. :) love you Natalie.


what do you think?