Less | Setting Priorities

It’s Monday again! I hope everyone’s weekend was exactly what they needed. I’m sorry I skipped out on my Friday post; I was planning to share a stitching project that I finished weeks ago, but still haven’t taken pictures of it. And when I saw Thursday slip through my fingers without a moment to spare, I decided to let my Friday post go and sleep in a bit. It was a good choice! Our weekend was quiet and included a lot of mud splashing. It seems to never get old. But it was nice to get some relatively warm weather because we’re expecting more snow tomorrow that will last through the week. Maybe that means we can say goodbye to the mud puddles for a little while?

Last week I shared that it was time to prune my branches again. I spent my journaling time since then thinking about the major question posed so far in Essentialism: where do I want to go big? Today’s post shares my decision and the daily goals I’m prioritizing to help me focus.

Because I don’t have a paying job that’s acknowledged outside of my home, it was tricky to sort out the daily activities I could even consider pruning back. So much of my day is spent on tasks that I can’t outsource or delegate (yet), but seem to be necessary to ensure a suitable level of daily living. Even getting the kids involved in their part of the work requires my presence, encouragement, modeling, redirection, and coaching. (This sounds like a mental health progress note. Sorry.) In my journal, I thought a lot about what was non-negotiable, such as homeschooling, preparing meals, cleaning, and time with my children and husband. Those are things that I don’t want to sacrifice in any way. Those are my non-negotiable priorities that always come first.

And then there’s the other stuff that I frantically try to stuff into the cracks: reading, journaling, blogging, knitting, cross stitching, quilting, hand sewing, exercising, the relentless desire to learn more skills and crafts such as: bread baking, spinning, garment sewing, gardening, starting a flower farm, raising sheep and goats and cows and pigs and holy moly, I could write a whole blog post on the things I WISH I could do. But I’ll put a period on that run-on paragraph because I think you get the picture and know that so many of you can relate.

I had to narrow it all down and decide where I want to focus for now. The for now is key, because the thought of letting all of this go forever is too heartbreaking. So for now, I’ve decided that my priorities are 1) time spent in reflection and, 2) taking care of my body by exercising consistently.

I set three goals for each of those areas, but I’ll only be sharing my goals for reflection. This is not a health & fitness blog nor am I medical professional. Writing about health goals would be out of my depth and I wouldn’t want to write anything that might cause harm to anyone else. So I’ll stick to what feels safe to me: time in reflection.

My goals for reflection are things I’ve already been doing for years. Calling them “goals” ensures that they’re prioritized and get the time they deserve and require. And they are:

📓 Morning journaling: If you’ve been reading for a while, you might remember that morning journaling was a big part of my life for a long time. I had a streak of around 400 days at one point! But I hit a wall and let it go. A few months ago I quietly picked the practice up again and have been enjoying it as a part of my morning routine. In time, I’d like to share this process with you because I know a lot of you have said that you want to start this habit but have a hard time getting started. So that’s going on the list of blog posts to be written!

📘 Evening reflection: in my 5 year notebook. Again — this is a practice that I’ve had for years, but it’s usually scratched off in a hurry and lacking important details. Making this a priority will ensure that I spend a little more time with this habit and think about my intentions for this notebook. I’ll give more details on that in a future post as well.

💻 3 blog posts a week: This is something else that I basically do already, but there are some weeks when time doesn’t cooperate or I don’t have much to say about anything, so I might skip a post here or there. And that might still happen, but I know that if I prioritize time for writing in my blog, it’s more likely that I’ll have plenty of things to share. “You can’t use up creativity, the more you use the more you have” – Maya Angelou

So why set these goals if they’re something that I already do?

✔️ These goals will be easy for me to meet and that will give me a feeling of success, which is incredibly reinforcing. I’ve spent the last four years learning Applied Behavioral Analysis techniques for Colton and have been practicing on myself throughout it all! So I know what a motivating factor success is and how hard it is to move forward when I feel like I’m failing at something.

✔️ I’m honoring my intention to do less. If I were adding tasks to my day, then I would be doing more and not less. So by completing these three things, I can feel accomplished and check them off my list. Anything else done would just be a bonus.

✔️ I tend to rush through these habits so that I can move on to whatever is next on my mental agenda. If my personal goal for the evening is simply to do my evening reflection, then I don’t need to rush through it. That is the only thing I need to complete. And when I finish, there will likely be time for me to do other things, like reading or stitching. And again – that is just icing on the cake. I’ve already accomplished what I set out to do for the day.

✔️ I already know that I love these habits. If I started something new and found it unhelpful or that I didn’t like it, then I wouldn’t be able to follow through and would feel like a failure. That would not be reinforcing!

I know this sounds repetitive, but it’s important for my brain to explore all of these little facets. Having all of these motivators in mind is what will keep me going.

How do my other hobbies fit into this?

My goals for reflection and health actually don’t take that much time. There are still plenty of cracks of time for me to fill and I’ve had plenty of practice with that. Like many of us, my interest in my hobbies ebbs and flows. Sometimes I’m reading A LOT and stitching very little. Sometimes my focus is reversed. And my goal here is to be okay with whatever feels right in the moment. Unheard of from me, I know. So there will likely be reading and stitching updates here on the blog as usual, but my progress might be a little bit slower.

This feels like a silly post to write for some reason, but I did it anyway because it felt like the logical follow-up to last Monday’s post! And given that my 39th birthday was on Saturday, it seemed like a good idea to start my fortieth revolution around the sun with some sort of focus. I hope to be back on Wednesday with a reading update. Until then — take good care.


25 thoughts on “Less | Setting Priorities

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  1. First – happy birthday! Then, as usual, I love this post. You are a wise and clever person and such a gift to your family and your readers. I think this approach, identifying and embracing those habits, is a great way to live out your word.


    1. Thank you, Juliann! Your kind words mean a lot. I still feel like I’m in the beginning stages of exploring my word and am excited to see where it takes me this year.


  2. First of all, a very happy birthday to you! Second, I so admire how you set everything out. I think you have a cracking plan, and I am looking forward to reading all about it in the upcoming year. As we have discussed previously, the hard truth is that we can’t do it all, even when we’re in your 30s. 😉 You have made some important choices and have wisely add the qualifier “for now.” Onward, ho!


  3. Happy belated birthday, my friend! I am giving you a long-distance hug and high five for coming up with a really achievable plan — and also for recognizing that your priorities can and will change! I think starting with things that are already part of your routine and that you enjoy is a good one, but I hope you’ll also allow yourself the grace to skip even those when you need to (because we all know there will be days when everything explodes and the only priorities are making sure you and your family are clothed, fed, and warm). And I hope you can find time to exercise regularly, even if it’s just a small amount of time several times a week. Getting out every day makes such a huge difference for my mental health.


  4. Wow, happy belated birthday, Katie!!! (And if you’d like, I can send you a template for an FSS Note that you can adapt for your personal tracking!) I loved your post and how you’re thinking about these things — always seems positive to give yourself some breathing space. Here’s to your 40th year!


    1. Thank you, Jordy! It’s been a few years since I’ve seen a FSS note, but I think I remember a place that asks about symptoms and you can check “no change.” That is me!! I never change! But thanks for your kind words. I’m already looking forward to 40!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for this post, Katie – you are a gift (and I sure hope you feel that love in person, too!)! It seems like you’re in a lovely place for your 40th trip around the sun! You know what matters AND you’re putting actual plans in place to make those things that matter happen (and you’ve got systems to hold yourself accountable and reward yourself … like a good grown-up!) YAY you and Happy Birthday!


  6. Happy Happy Happy ! Here’s to the BIG 40 and many more. You are clearly on the right path. I applaud your honest and life fulfilling goals for yourself and your family. Thank you for sharing and I’m/we’re honored to accompany you on your journey.


  7. Happy birthday! I hope it was great.
    This: “The for now is key, because the thought of letting all of this go forever is too heartbreaking.” It’s just temporary! One day you will be able to tackle more and more of these things, but you are in a different season of life right now.
    I like reading about your reflections. There are many blogs that write about fitness and goals and they are (sorry to say) pretty repetitive. I like a different kind of goal to read about, so yay, Katie.


    1. Thanks, Nicole! It was a pretty good day – we spent a lot of time splashing in the mud 🙂 And thanks for your kind words about my posts. It is so encouraging!!


  8. Happy Belated Birthday, Katie! I am ever inspired by you… and I believe you have laid out the best plan… starting with your priorities. And you are wise… for now are the best words in any person’s life! Because it is a good check… for now is not for always. Good reminders for me as well! XO


  9. I love that qualifier: for now. You are so wise and your priorities are in the right place for you. I love the idea on focusing on the things you already do. What a great way to approach the concept of less. Onward we go.


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