the four things i'm doing this year

Have you ever heard the theory that you can only be really good at three or four things at once? I first heard it while listening to an Influence Network podcast from Jess Connolly.  The idea is that you should pick three (max four) things to focus on and pour as much as you can into them to really succeed.

Of course, that doesn't mean you can only do those things. She explained that if you pick to be a marathoner as one of your three items, you'd really pour into it. But if you don't pick that, you can still be a runner. It doesn't mean you're limited to only performing three things over and over again. It just means that your time, heart and energy aren't all going to be poured into the running.

I've been thinking about it a lot at the start of this year. I have a habit of picking 10 or 15 things each year, because of I have a wildly unrealistic concept of time and tend to believe (falsely) that I'm a superhero and won't need the time or sleep {or insert basic need}. 

But I really want 2015 to be a different than the back half of 2014. 

It was a season full of so many amazing, amazing things, but I was too run down to really enjoy and embrace them. I constantly craved a minute alone in my house that didn't require packing and unpacking. And, just as our food cravings indicate something about what our body needs, so do our emotional cravings. 

I told you yesterday about a few of the many things I don't do. Some of those are because I can't and some are because they aren't priorities right now. This year, I want to cultivate a greater awareness of what I do well and how I can use those strengths to enrich the world and myself. I want to align my activity with my ability. Here's where I'm focusing: 

1. I want to find my place in Atlanta. 
This one sounds more dramatic than it is. I know and love my place in Atlanta in this sense of my relationships. But I want to figure out what I can give back to this city. I want to stretch myself in new ways and really embrace it for all it is. I'm guilty of having a really laissez-faire attitude when it comes to how long I'll be living here. For a long time I've just thought "maybe I'll stay another year. Maybe five. Maybe I'll move next month." This was a defense mechanism that I needed to employ during some harder times when I needed the safety net and reminder of knowing I could move home anytime. But these days, I know I could move home anytime. I think refusing to commit emotionally and mentally is now less instrumental and more detrimental. I'm part of this city and the more I invest in it, the more of a positive impact I can have.

2. I want to focus on self care. 
Unfortunately, when we get really busy, self care is often the first thing to go, when it should probably be the last. This year, I want to focus on listening to my body and abiding by what it's telling me. This means taking days of from working out. Or, going to yoga even though it's not as grueling as another workout. This means prioritizing sleep. Using more essential oils. Taking time to meal prep. I want to go for walks and listen to podcasts and music. I want to talk to friends on the phone, but give myself permission not to be on the phone. I want to get better at identifying my needs and not be afraid to fulfill them. When we care for ourselves, we're better versions of ourselves, which means we can love people better. 

3. I want to pour into my relationships. 
With God. With my siblings and parents. With my friends. I want to pour into relationships that matter most because I firmly believe relationships are one of the things that matter the most. 

4. I want to seek adventures. 
In my own city and in new cities. Physical adventures and emotional ones, too. I don't want to get stuck or complacent. I want to seize this phase in life: unmarried, no kids, with great friends and family in a city I love. I want to make the most of every minute of it.

So, that's what I do do :)

Long ago I read Shauna Niequist's Bittersweet, which is one of my all-time favorite books and has carried me through my 20s.  In it she has a chapter "Things I Don't Do". I have always admired how she gives herself permission not to do things. Her wisdom and advice inspired this post, as well as yesterday's. If you haven't read this book, I strongly recommend it! I also recently noticed that The Tiny Twig posted something similar a while back. Her post is great, especially if you're a mom trying to do it all :)