At the beginning of every single year (and sometimes months/weeks/days), I make numerous resolutions. I’m going to eat more healthy (aren’t we all?), I’m going to exercise more (join a gym!) and it’s going to be the year that I finally stop biting my nails (this really is the year-I swear!). And while I’ve not ever met every single one of my goals to exactness, I have made progress on all the goals I set and that’s something to celebrate. Every year that I’m better than the year before is a win. Upward progress is what really matters.
However, I tend to be a complete perfectionist and it often keeps me from celebrating my wins, both big and small. I feel like I can and should do much better in essentially everything that I’m doing. I often feel like it’s never enough. I’m not doing as well as I should be at managing my household, being a mom, writing my blog, keeping up with the cleaning and laundry, volunteering enough at church and the kid’s school, and the list goes on (and on and on).
So I set more and more goals and pledge to be better year after year. And it is important, it really is. Goals are important. Progress itself is a significant achievement.
This past year, though, something has changed. I had an incredibly stressful year between challenges with one of our children and an extensive home renovation that started even before last January and isn’t completely finished even yet. I started the year caught up in the bigger and better race more than I had even realized and ended the year with the desire for contentment. And I wonder what does doing “enough” even look like?
I understand now what this quote means:
Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little.
This year, 2017, will be the year of “enough”. I have thought about what “enough” would look like for me and have been surprised by how few material things I need to feel fulfilled. In fact, many of my goals for the year involve removing things from my life to make it more fulfilling and less stressful.
I am fortunate that I have:
- A big enough house that my kids don’t have to share a room and we can invite people over to entertain (it’s not huge by any standards, but well laid out with it’s 2,000 square feet).
- A garage that is big enough to store our tools and park my car in the winter (Michigan is COLD people!).
- A car that is nice and new enough that I am not ever worried about it breaking down on me.
- Enough food to eat each and every day as well as enough money to eat out on those days when I’m feeling stressed (or lazy).
- Enough disposable income to go beyond basic needs and save for future needs.
- A savings account that provides enough to dispel worry about future emergencies.
- Enough of essentially everything to the point where I cannot think of anything that I really want.
However, the biggest challenge I have is in feeling like I am enough. I have enough, but it’s been harder to determine what specific goals to set to feel like I personally am enough in my life. I can think of the following ways I am enough:
- I spend enough time with my kids and am there when they really need me. I’m so fortunate that I can spend these years at home with them while they’re still small.
- I love my kids enough that I would do anything for them and they know it.
- My family always has enough clean laundry and a clean enough home (I’m not saying that the toilets don’t get dirty sometimes, but it’s reasonably clean!)
- I manage my finances enough that we are on track for all of our saving goals including retirement, college funding and saving for medical expenses.
- I eat healthily and exercise enough that I’m not overweight and do not have any health problems (I literally spent nothing on medical costs for myself the past year).
- I have the desire to do better and believe that each and every year I feel that I’ve accomplished that and that is enough.
It starts with the knowledge that I can’t change everything, I can only change myself. I can’t change other people’s behavior. I can’t change external circumstances. I can’t change the past. I can only change my own priorities and attitudes to achieve the best life for myself, and doing my best is enough. My goals for 2017 reflect things that will improve my life in small ways that will help me to better, but with the realization that doing my best will be enough in the end.
I’m going to allow myself the grace to fail sometimes, but I’m going to pick myself back up again. I’m going to allow myself to not be perfect and I’m not going to set goals about things that don’t really matter. I’m going to focus on the small things that I can control and that will make the biggest impact. And it will all be enough this year. One of the best things is that I have no doubt that my year of enough will help me to achieve the best financial year yet. I can’t wait to see what the year brings!
What is your enough? If you don’t know what enough means to you, you’ll never get there.