The Trade Off

Now that we are about a month (at the time I’m writing this) into the new year, we are starting to settle into a routine for the season. I say for the season because right now we have cold weather and school. As late Spring rolls around we will have much more freedom to be outdoors and amble about. For now though I thought I would share how we are working our outside time into our schedule. 

This year we set our goal at five hundred hours spent outside during this calendar year. This is a huge leap from last year’s three hundred hour goal. To date we have eight hours filled in on our tracker. I’m tempted to feel like we are falling down right out of the gate. In one sense that is true and in another it is not.

In the true sense, we could have logged many more hours so far if I had been more intentional about executing my planned outdoor times. I’ve talked before about planning our time as trail families because if we leave it to “whenever we get around to it” then we usually don’t get around to it. The last several weeks I did pencil in some outside time. However, I also scheduled myself some projects and organizing that I want to take care of this year. I didn’t want to stumble on those out of the gate either. 

Here is where the trade off comes in. There really are not enough hours in the day to accomplish all that I wish. Since I’m still learning the fine art of not biting off more than I can chew, there are days that I plan more than what is actually possible. In working out the wrinkles of this new routine, I realize that if we are going to get our fresh air time then I have to let go of something else. Usually the ‘something else’ ends up being some chores or extra project for the day. It is hard to make peace with those trade offs, especially for moms who want to keep the household running smoothly and give the kids the enrichment experiences they need. I’m still working on that peace agreement more than two years into the project so let’s all give ourselves some grace.

In light of grace, here is some encouragement too. I said earlier that in another sense it is not true that January was a great big “Oof” when it comes to getting hours out. It’s important not to get into a checklist mindset where we are going out simply because the schedule demands it. I am a believer in making your routines work for you not being a slave to your routine. This month has been C-O-L-D, cold. That is a natural limitation on outdoor activity. We were also coming off of our Christmas Break and getting school routines back into full swing. I’m making sure I enjoy winter, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not still looking forward to summer. We can more than make up for lost time when it takes less planning and suiting up to enjoy the outdoors. We’ll get there!

Thanks for letting me bear my heart in this one a little bit. I always hope that my experiences will be an encouragement and motivator for everyone who reads Trail Family. Set a goal and go for it one small step at a time!

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