I recently read the book You’re Already Amazing by Holley Gerth. While I didn’t like the book nearly as much as her recent devotional, there were a few points that really got my attention. The main one being her concept of the “Do What You Can Plan.”
Like a lot of people, I set very high standards for myself. I have a tendency to create lofty complicated goals, write out huge to do lists every day, and want to change everything lacking about myself and my relationships immediately. This kind of thinking automatically sets me up to fail. No matter how much I try and how far I push myself I’m never going to be fully happy with myself, my relationships, and the number of check marks off my list. Discouraging, right? Well, it doesn’t have to be.
The point of this plan is obvious – just do what you can! And accept the fact that it is enough. You are enough. Any effort you put into anything is enough because little by little you are growing. Little by little the jobs are getting done. You’re becoming a better mother, wife, friend, etc. with every step you take. You don’t have to get it all done at once.
This is a hard truth for me to swallow. Especially when it comes to my daily to do list. I take my housekeeping/family organizing duties seriously and I expect myself to get everything done on my lists every single day. At night when I’m looking back to see what’s left I often feel discouraged and frustrated. It doesn’t matter how many things I accomplished, I didn’t do it ALL.
This is also hard for me to take into practice when it comes to losing weight. I’ve been trying really hard this year to exercise every day with the hopeful intentions of losing weight and feeling better. The problem is I’ve been having a lot of setbacks – lots of illness, back pains, allergies, and just plain being too busy. But it shouldn’t matter. I don’t need to ride my bike for an hour every day. I just need to do what I can. Usually that means doing a short pilates video. But it doesn’t even have to be that. I can do things like park farther away from the store doors, do leg squats while I’m cooking dinner, etc. If I do what I can, every day, it will eventually pay off. I shouldn’t give up on a weight loss plan just because I don’t have the time or energy for extensive exercise every day.
I’m also going to try and accept this plan when it comes to saving money, paying off debt, finishing books, working on bigger projects, etc. I often get excited about new things – like a more efficient savings plan – and then become so frustrated because I can’t do it all at once. But dollar by dollar, it all counts. A few coupons here and there, saying no to splurge purchases – doing what I can, it all matters in the end.
This plan should work for relationships too. I shouldn’t get discouraged when I have a bad day with one of my kids. It’s not like one bad day means a bad relationship for life. I just need to turn things around and do what I can – sit down and read a few books with them, take them to the park for a break, or pull out a cookbook and find a snack to make together. If I do what I can with them, with my friends, with my parents and siblings, it all really does add up.
Do what you can. It’s a plan everyone can follow. Accept the fact that as long as you’re doing something – whatever you can fit into your life – you are doing enough. Don’t give up, don’t be discouraged, and don’t feel like you’re failing because you can’t do it all. Nobody can. Just do what you can!