I Can’t Do Everything at Once

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I sometimes have to tell myself to slow down. I talk fast, I like to be moving and I hop from other thing to another quickly. I generate thoughts and want to act on them immediately. ‘I should do laundry soon’ flows into me standing up immediately and getting my clothes into the washer. ‘I want to save more’ turns into me deactivating my credit card in that moment to curb spending.

Most of the time I think of this quick thinking and quick moving tendency to be a positive thing. When it comes to my financial goals however, I’ve come to see that it’s hurting me more than it’s helping.

I’ve been dealing with bouts of dissatisfaction for the last month and a half. By no means am I waking up every day feeling unhappy or depressed and I want to acknowledge that I have lots of wonderful things in my life. But there is a lingering stress and sense of tiredness I can’t shake and I’ve been fighting off the green-eyed monster a lot.

I’m completely failing to see the positives in my life. My dissatisfaction stems from staring ahead relentlessly. I’m so busy thinking about what I want to change in my life, or all the things I have left to do before I get to where I want to be, that I am forgetting the things I have already done. Or the myriad great things already in my life.

This time last year my life looked very different.  I was $14,000 in debt, had no health insurance, was working about 17 hours a week and had just started on my debt payoff path. I was pulling my life together after a really rough summer.

I was just beginning on a road. My goal was to pay off my debt by the end of 2015 and last November I thought that was an incredibly optimistic timeline.

Today I am debt free, with a healthy emergency account and am very close to maxing out my IRA for the year. I have an amazing relationship with someone I am deeply in love with. I have health insurance, am working an average of 50 hours a week and have taken two vacations this year. I live in a beautiful house with good people.

While I am not exactly where I want to be, where I am is not bad. I paid off my debt a full 7 months ahead of schedule. I have saved diligently and funded accounts that were dreams a year ago. Those are badass things! I should be proud of myself for them. And while I am, I often forget them because I am so busy planning my next step.

This is silly. I can’t do everything at once.

That doesn’t mean I won’t get the things I want. Having ambition is a good thing. Having a plan to act on that ambition is a good thing. I have both. I’m well on my way to getting what I want. I just need to remember that it’s a path. I have to walk this road before I reach my destination.

I have to tell myself to slow down and appreciate where I am and where I’ve come from. Progress has been made. Progress will continue to get made. I am going to make more of an effort to pull my head out of the fog of my future and take a look around at my present. Things are pretty good in the grand scheme of things. I want to enjoy that more. I want to be proud and happy with what I’ve already done.

So while 2015 is nearly over I am making a resolution before the end of the year. I want to take more time for appreciation and gratitude. I want to focus on the ‘now’ more. I want to breathe and remind myself that things are happening even when I feel stagnant.

Are you finishing out 2015 with any goals? And how do you stay motivated to achieve while appreciative of your current situation?

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11 Replies to “I Can’t Do Everything at Once”

  1. I fully relate to your thoughts. I also have been feeling like not moving towards my goals and not well functioning. I have been contemplating the whole day and this is not true – I too am doing my best and however slow taking care of stuff. Yes I am behind many of my goals yet i constantly strive with little breaks in between. Today I just stopped and when I looked back I realized I am doing alright; so many great things I have done and I have. so thanks again for this post

    1. Slow and steady wins the race. That’s what I tell myself (when I remember to!) It is very frustrating when you have big dreams and it seems that they are constantly out of reach. But every little thing counts. Congrats on what you’ve achieved so far and let’s keep going!

  2. Kara,
    Great post, especially for freelancers or the self-employed. We’re always thinking about the next thing, how to stay afloat, and can forget to celebrate the victories. That was some advice someone gave my wife and I before we started our businesses, celebrate all your victories, no matter how small. It helps you stop and acknowledge all the amazing things that are happening in an ocean of unfinished work.

    Thanks for writing this.

    1. Thank you! I love that advice. It’s something I need to take to heart. I’ve been thinking of it as a puzzle: each day or month I’m adding one more piece. Just because I don’t have the whole thing done yet doesn’t mean there isn’t progress.

  3. This is sooooo me. It is the hardest thing in the world for me to take something slow. Once I decide to do something, I want to go full speed ahead. But you just listed off all of the AMAZING things you’ve accomplished this year, and I know I’m actually in a similarly good place. I need to make a list 🙂 It’s hard to live in the moment when you expect so much from yourself.

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    1. I get so excited about stuff and want to do it NOW. It’s very difficult for me to take a breath, consider other options or ideas. I just want to charge right in! Thank you for the kind words and congrats on being in a good place. We will get what we want someday- I mean look at what we’ve already done. 🙂

      1. It’s true, we totally will. Damn that instant gratification!

  4. I completely appreciate that you point out where you were a year ago. I think the feeling of stagnation when you’re impatient and working toward big goals never goals away — or at least it still hasn’t gone away for me! Often the best thing I can do is look at the tracker and see how far we’ve come in six months or a year or five years. And then I kinda snap out of it and say, “oh, right. We’re doing really well.” It just often doesn’t feel that way in the moment, especially because we automate all of our savings, and so we never actually *save* money, as in move money into a savings account deliberately. (I think that’s the one drawback of the pay yourself first plan!)

    1. We’re so dismissive of what we have accomplished and so focused on what’s still left to do. It’s good to keep eyes on the prize but I can’t drive myself crazy with it. Progress has been made, it will continue to get made and one day I will reach my goal. #mantra

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