My Single New Year’s Resolution — A Completely Different Mindset (Plus, The Starting Point For Finishing The Home Gym)

Every year, I’m generally among the 38.5% of the population of the U.S. that sets New Year’s resolutions. Because things were so chaotic for us during the last two weeks of last year, I didn’t get around to even thinking about resolutions, much less writing any down. And then, since I got a late start on things for this year, I totally forgot about them.

But in the last few days, I’ve come up with one thing I’d like to focus on this year. Less guilt.

I feel like I spent a whole lot of time last year feeling guilty — guilty that I didn’t get the master bathroom finished faster, guilty that I didn’t get more projects done around the house, guilty when I wanted to sit down and watch a movie rather than being up and working on something, guilty that I didn’t cook more meals at home, guilty that I’ve had junk sitting on our front porch over a year now and never made time to get it cleaned off, and the list goes on and on and on. I don’t know why, but I just let those feelings of guilt that I’m not doing more really pile up on me.

So I was talking to a friend not too long ago, and she said that she had been thinking about my life, and how I’m a caretaker to Matt (that’s my wheelchair-bound husband who has M.S.), and I do projects on our house, etc. She said something to the effect of, “It really hit me that you do everything! Literally not a single piece of trash gets taken out of this house unless it’s taken out by you.”

That really struck me. She’s not wrong. Matt isn’t able to help me with anything. He can’t cook, clean, take out the trash. He’s in charge of the budget and paying bills, but everything else is on me.

  • Not a single piece of trash gets taken out of this house unless it’s taken out by me.
  • Not a single meal gets cooked unless it’s cooked by me.
  • Not a single dish gets washed unless it’s washed by me.
  • Not a single thing gets dusted unless it’s dusted by me.
  • Not a single article of clothing gets washed unless it’s washed by me.
  • Not a single floor gets mopped unless it’s mopped by me.

I could go on, but you get the point. Literally nothing in this house gets done unless I do it. No one’s coming to help (at least not on a regular basis, but my sweet mom is always willing to help if I’m in a time crunch and need something done). So if I don’t do the things…all the things…they don’t get done.

I’m not saying all of this to complain. I know there are many people, like single mothers to toddlers, other people who find themselves in the roll of caretaker to a spouse, etc., who are in the same position.

I’m saying it because as we were talking, and as she was pointing out these things, and as I spent the next few days thinking over our conversation, something in my mind shifted. Rather than being bogged down with feelings of guilt for not doing more, that guilt seemed to morph into a feeling of, “You know what? I’m doing pretty good!

No, things don’t always get done. Yes, sometimes the dirty dishes pile up a little too much before I tackle them. Yes, sometimes I’m scrambling to get ready to go somewhere because I can’t find a clean shirt that I want to wear. 😀 But overall, I’m doing pretty good. Most of the time, I don’t feel like I’m drowning. I feel like I’m keeping my head above water, and I have plenty of strength to keep on treading.

So I’ve been mulling this over for a few days now — this new change in mindset that that feels so freeing and involves zero guilt. In the meantime, I signed up for a new class at the church I go to. (I promise, this is relevant. 😀 ) My church doesn’t have “Sunday school classes” like a lot of churches do. We have what’s called Equipping Classes, and new classes are offered at the beginning of each new semester. (This is Waco, the home of Baylor University, so this schedule works for college students.) And each semester, new Equipping Classes are offered on new topics.

Well, I chose an equipping class and signed up. And then I got an email with a link to a Google drive with loads of documents in it and instructions about how the class would be conducted. Each week, we’d be expected to do some reading, answer some essay-type questions, and come to class prepared to discuss what we had read and the answers to the questions.

I mean, there were pages and pages and pages. My first thought was, “Ummmm…did I just sign up for a seminary course?! I don’t have time for a seminary course right now!” But the class is on a topic that really interests me, so I really wanted to take the class.

My friend (the same friend from above) signed up for the same class, and she was also a bit surprised at the amount of “homework” required by the class. As we were discussing it, she said something like, “Well, do you think you’ll have time for it?” And my response was something to the effect of, “You know what? I’m just one person, I have a lot on my plate, and I only have so much time. I want to take the class, so I’m going to do what I can, not do what I can’t, and feel absolutely zero guilt about it.”

Once again, when I said that, there was something so freeing about that mindset. I didn’t need to back out of the class. I haven’t enrolled in seminary. I’m not working towards a degree. I just wanted to take an eight-week class and learn some stuff. So I’ll do what I can when my schedule allows, I’ll glean from the class what I can, and I won’t stress about the rest. No guilt.

So I’ve determined that that’s my New Year’s resolution. My only New Year’s resolution. A new mindset for 2023 that I’m not just going to apply to an equipping class that only lasts eight weeks. But it’s a mindset that I’m going to make every effort to apply to everything this year.

I’m just one person, and I only have so much time. I’m going to do what I can (while truly trying to use my time efficiently), not do what I can’t, and feel zero guilt about it. 😀

Now with that said, let’s take a look at where I’m starting off in the home gym. I was able to get a good start on cleaning out this room over the weekend, but I still have a long way to go. And once you see these pictures, you’ll understand why it’s taking so long to clean it out.

This is what the room looked like on Friday before I started…

This is what it looks like after a year-and-a-half of using this room as a storage room and a workroom for products and projects that went into the master bathroom.

I’m pretty sure that after that amount of time, about half of my tools had found their way into this room, and had been added to the pile of tools in the corner. Going through all of that and putting tools away where they belong was quite the chore.

Then I had leftover materials (lots of walnut veneer!), cleaning products, leftover decorative items, more tools…

Lots of scraps, boxes, sawdust…

And then this pile. Ugh…I don’t know what to do with this pile. Pre-2020, I would have thrown most of this out. But now, with the cost of lumber as high as it is, it’s so hard for me to throw out any decent sized pieces of lumber. But where in the world do I store them? I’m having a hard time figuring that out.

So I don’t really have any “after” pictures just yet because I only got about halfway through clearing out the room.

But I’m doing what I can with the time I have, and it’ll get done when it gets done. No guilt. 🙂



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  1. “. . . . I’m going to do what I can, not do what I can’t, and feel absolutely zero guilt about it.”
    My new life mantra. Thank you.

    1. Something else to keep in mind:

      Just because something is good doesn’t mean it’s necessary for me to do, and certainly not mandatory.

      Sometimes the hard work is figuring out the difference between the two.

      A lot of the things in my category of “I have to do…,” are really things I have put on my own plate. They are things I’d like to get done, for whatever reason. In other words, it’s self-imposed guilt for not getting everything done. The older I get, the easier it is to cut myself some slack lol.

      Blessings to you both. 🙂

  2. GOOD FOR YOU!!!
    This post was so inspiring.
    Although my situation is different from yours I recognize the feeling of guilt.
    Last year I went thru chemo and radiation and just didnt have the energy to keep my house clean.
    A friend offered to come over and clean but by then I felt I had to do a light cleaning before I let them come over which would have defeated the purpose of her offer. I am much stronger now and feel like I am ready to tackle decluttering and cleaning but I am just going to take it one room at a time and thank you for inspiring me not to have any guilt about it.
    Take time for yourself and Matt…that clutter etc can be taken care of overtime. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Amen! I agree with your mindset. Do what you can and don’t fall back into practices that haven’t worked for you. When I was remodeling my house one room at a time, my parents did the work and I did the cleanup when I got home from work. It worked to all of our strengths and each morning they came in to an area ready for that days project.

  4. How about storing the lumber temporarily in your craft room? You could even build some type of holder with wheels for it.

    Guilt is kind of life worry. It zaps you and accomplishes nothing positive.

    1. I was going to say this same thing about some type of holder with wheels for the lumber!

      Great goal for 2023! I think I need to do this also.

    2. Great minds think alike! I’m building a new house and I am saving any scraps of wood longer than 10″. My idea was to take the pallet I salvaged from the dumpster onsite, add 4 large wheels to it and store all the scraps on it. Easily moved as I need to and when I make the second one, I can use it to move my RTA cabinets around to assemble and to install! Not to mention moving furniture!

  5. Good for you! You can’t do it all so eliminating the guilt is necessary for all of us.
    In regards to your wood stash, you might want to consider some kind of simple rack in your currently empty craft space. It can always be moved later to a shop. A simple folding table could also help you during a project so tools are off the floor. Looking at your picture makes me realize you have a lot of bending to do to clean up!

  6. When my late husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, I declared that we would live our best life. We’ll do what we can do, and whatever we can’t we won’t and we will not fret about it. That declaration served us well as we lived our best life in the hard until his passing four years later.

  7. I think you should just have two N Y’s resolutions – take some time for yourself and ditch the guilt. My goodness – you are such an inspiration to all with the DIY stuff that we forget that you are a regular wife and caretaker of a disabled husband – you deserve all the credit you get and more…

  8. Ugh! Why do women deal with so much guilt? No matter what our circumstances are.

    We have a bunch of trim from our basement remodel, I got tired of shuffling it out of my way, I ended up storing it in a garbage can (trim on end), its out of the way and I can move it easily and see what I need. Easy and inexpensive.

  9. I struggle with this as well. Have you thought about hiring a helper? Maybe a HS or College kid to come in once a week and help with projects or organizing? It’s soooo helpful! Every so often I would have my assistant come to the house and organize the basement or storage units and it felt great to accomplish in one day what would take me a week by myself. Also, maybe you could get a metal work cart to keep some tools on that you could roll in and out of storage for projects and plastic bins for the smaller wood scraps.

  10. Bravo to you Kristi! As women in general we can feel guilty about not doing enough. By the time I reached 45 I had truly given all I had for everyone but me. As a natural caregiver I try to help where and when I can. I was caring for my Mom with Lewey Bodies Dementia in our home and caring for our granddaughters Mon-Fri while parents worked. I also was coaching my husband on what he needed to do for my Mom in law who was not doing well at the same time. At one point both Mom’s were In separate hospitals fighting UTIs. I felt guilty I could not be with my Mom in law enough and she was asking for me often. She ended up getting a staph infection, was ignored in a nursing home and died. I felt like I failed her because I know how to get things done in facilities that have overcrowding and very under staffed. I fought guilt for a few years until my therapist told me I needed to look at this in a different light. I gave all of myself to everyone and I still ran out of time and energy. I was making myself sick with my guilt. How could I do anything for anyone if my cup is not filled with what I needed to give of myself. I worked slowly giving thanks for the things I did do each day and be grateful for that. I have ALWAYS been hard on my myself and feeling guilty if I did something wrong. I learned to be happy with my job that day, show gratitude for my efforts and be good with that. Learning to say no was hard for me but I learned to wait by taking a few deep breaths, decide to answer at that time or say, let me get back to you on that. Then either yes when you can or no, I have a full plate at this time. Life is easier when you give yourself permission to take time for your well-being. When you can say yes it feels like you made that choice with no guilt.

  11. I’ve been following your blog since you started renovating this house. I have always been in awe of the number of things you accomplish just on the house not to mention being a caretaker to your husband and pets. Then you add in domestic duties and it blows my mind. You deserve to take me time to take your course at church. Just remember the house projects will always be there waiting. Also, how about sending some of your abundant energy my way.

  12. This is a great post and a great resolution. I’m going to make a suggestion for the tool situation that I made to you in the comments several years ago. Get a wire shelving system and put wheels on it so it can be easily moved from place to place. If you have a place to put the tools rather than the floor, you’ll be able to find them and have a better chance of finding the other things you need that are hidden by tools on the floor. It’s the wheels that are a very important part of making this work. Congratulations on your beautiful bathroom and all the other beautiful rooms in your house. You rock!

  13. May I suggest a temporary storage solution for the lumber? Stand the boards up in a large trash can, preferrably one on wheels. You can at least tidy up the room, have access to the lumber, and move the whole thing more easily to your next work spot.

  14. Hello Kristi, I’ve been following your blog for a while but I have never commented.

    I have enjoyed following your journey as you have turned your house into a home and have been impressed by your eye for detail. I’m especially impressed by your ability create your vision for a room and how you tackle any DIY project from tiling to building your own furniture. The master bathroom is the latest evidence of your talents. You always seem to be on the go, so I don’t think you have anything to feel guilty about – good luck with your 2023 goal.

  15. If your self-talk—be it out loud or in your head—is not inspiring you, encouraging you, and/or lifting you up, then it’s robbing you…because your own is the voice you listen to most. Is it stealing positivity? Is it stealing joy? Is it stealing peace?

    *Decide* which version you’re going to feed.💆🏻‍♀️

  16. I have these coasters from a restaurant I loved back in Ohio.
    (we retired to Az in 19.)
    Stamped on them is this quote from Will Rogers :
    “Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today.”

    Dump the guilt, it’s a weight you don’t need to carry🥰

  17. I’m a bit confused as to why you are expressing guilt. Guilt “is the fact of having committed a breach of conduct.” I don’t think you have breached anything, woman, except that you may not be doing what you think should be done. And therein lies the problem; “what you think should be done.” Look at that sentence. Why do you think that? Is that your true feeling or has society piled upon you the idea that a home should always be tidy, things must always be put away after use, you need to prepare meals from scratch that are organic, etc etc.? Those are not breaches of conduct, they are simply different ways of doing things. You are doing things your way and your house demonstrates beautifully that that is working just fine for you. You are accomplishing miracles solely by your own efforts and doing an amazing job at it.

    I am continually amazed every time I come to your blog and see what you have accomplished. The color, the beauty, the sheer impact of your own vision…I guess I could feel “guilty” that I don’t have the same gifts but that wouldn’t be right. I am good at what I am good at, as are you. Please give yourself all the time and love in the world because it is what you deserve.

  18. YES! I think that is wonderful. You do SO much, and since Matt can now go out and do things with you, chores and projects should take second place sometimes. They won’t go anywhere…they will be there later, or tomorrow when you are ready to get back to it. If you had children, you would know it is a lesson every mom has to learn…you can clean house constantly or you can go out and play an hour with the kids. The kids will grow up and be gone…choose the time with them….the rest can wait! NO GUILT. It IS a hard one to learn. I am SO happy for you. Enjoy your husband, your classes, your piano lessons, and have NO guilt. Projects are more fun that way too….a little at a time…not your entire time/life! PS) We aren’t going anywhere either…looking forward to whatever you post, whenever!

  19. I love how you are taking this. You do have a lot on you. Many do, but what is important is that you do what you can and learn what you have to just let go. What is most important it taking care of you and Matt. You are doing that just fine. The rest will happen when the time is right.

  20. Kristi, Is there room in your budget to have house cleaners come in weekly or every other week to do the mundane things like dusting, mopping, bathroom cleaning and kitchen cleaning in the areas not under construction? In that way, you can spend your energy doing your creative DIY projects you excel at. You ARE doing it all, lady. Enjoy your class!

    1. There is room in the budget, and Matt has even suggested it several times. He seems to have given up now. I have no idea why I’ve been so resistant to the idea! Is it the idea of giving up control? I honestly have no idea. I really do need to consider it.

      1. Just do it, Kristi. You have procrastination issues; maybe not guilt. Get the house cleaner and if it doesn’t work out after two or three months, you can always go back to your old ways. Matt will appreciate you doing this for yourself as well as him. Blessings.

  21. I would love to make a suggestion to you that is something to think about, Get a cleaning lady once every two weeks to do basic cleaning wash floors, dust, clean bathrooms and other items that might lead up to 6 or 8 hours of help per month. You will find such comfort from getting a nice clean home once or twice a month which would leave you to do other things Just a though

  22. Kristi, this is It! Reading through this, I realized that this is what my “unofficial” resolution is for 2023 as well. I was also talking with a friend on this but as it relates to eating/cooking/grocery shopping. I was telling her, I feel like the last several years I have had so much guilt associated with this (and truthfully probably all my life).
    If I buy groceries, it’s guilty if I spend too much or guilty if I don’t buy healthy’. Then if I don’t cook the healthy expensive food which goes bad faster then it’s guilt over throwing out food. I’ve done a LOT of takeout/delivery in recent years for several reasons- but of course even though that is absolutely no food waste, I feel guilty for the cost and think I ‘should’ cook at home. I tried a meal delivery service thinking it would address everything: budget, food waste, better diet- but it was So time consuming…more food waste, more delivery, more guilt.
    I’m done. I will have a total monthly food budget to be spent as we see fit each month- No Guilt- no more.

    1. This is me as well now. I did the meal delivery didn’t work out. Did eMeals it’s better, but not a great fit. So got paprika and building my recipes and finally trashing my nests of recipes when I find them. I focus on buying two to three meals (or proteins) I get excited for to buy less perishable goods for the rest I make from the current supply. I like paprika because I can search in it like tilapia and pull up what uses it. I tend to get a lot of frozen veggies vs fresh. No messing with filters.

      Currently trying to work down forgotten pantry items and get a feel of what I want in my pantry.

  23. Would love to hear more about your class at church! My Bible study teacher retired during Covid and just hasn’t been the same.

    1. I’m taking a class on Christian philosophy, worldview and apologetics. We’ve only had one class so far, and it was great! The discussions were so good and thought-provoking.

  24. Less guilt is a good idea most of us could use.
    If you haven’t thrown out your lumber scraps, why don’t you search online for “scrap lumber storage cart” and build yourself one? You could put it under the carport for now and toss a tarp over it to keep it dry. I’d have said put it in your work room but I”d worry that the weight may damage the floors.

  25. Less guilt? What about NO guilt? What’s to feel guilty about? Being human? Having so much to do that it’s impossible to get through it all in double-quick time? Getting tired? Blow all that. Let this be a NO GUILT year.
    Guilt does not motivate, but it does pull you down. It may even be a temptation, an excuse, perhaps.
    We all have different talents. That’s just a fact. Guilt is not a talent – out with it!
    Bon chance

  26. I highly recommend the book “Four Thousand Weeks” by Oliver Burkeman. He’s a former productivity addict who came to realize that life is short (about 4,000 weeks, as a matter of fact) and you’ll never finish everything you have on your list, no matter how many “systems du jour” you set up, so figure out what’s really important and focus on those things first. And throw the guilt overboard. There’s more to it than that, of course, but you get the gist. He also has a great newsletter you can sign up for. He’s very witty and fun to read. Changed the way I approach my own endless lists and projects.

  27. So… Ignore if this is if necessary. Just a suggestion.

    Look at that scrap, if you can’t burn it or turn it into something easily it’s is trash. Make/find a box that can hold this scrap. Once it’s full, the rest is trashed. If they are large enough for a project you can keep some. Additionally (unless you got an alternate) get a fire pit. Burn it so you have room for more scrap.

    As you aquire more scrap from the studio. Do build/make trays or boxes for your tools and things. When the studio is done you can make them more pretty or keep utilitarian.

    1. I believe you *know* this, when I say burn. Know what you are comfortable burning, don’t burn items with glue or are treated. Unless you know it’s safe to burn around you and Matt.

  28. Congratulations!!! Guilt robs us of peace. So grateful for your post, it was insightful and has me rethinking my own guilt for not getting “more” done on my own self-inflicted list.

  29. Kristi, been there, done that,,,, so I didn’t want anyone touching my remodling stuff, i did want someone to dust vacuum COOK change sheets put out garbage!!! And a friend said hire a house keeper to come 2times a month. OMG !!!! While I’m doing remodle stuff, She is my WIfE…not really my wife but doing wifely duties……..NO guilt and alot of pressure removed.

  30. You judge yourself too harshly! So the next time you start judging yourself just think, “here comes the judge”, have a good laugh and let it go. You have a huge fan-base out here who knows for a fact that you are super woman! Just do what you want to do to keep you and Matt and your critters happy and we will continue to look forward to your fabulous posts.

  31. It makes so happy to hear about your 2023 mindset, Kristi! I’ve ALWAYS been in awe of all that you accomplish and that’s really just the project stuff you post on the blog. I never really gave any thought to the fact that you’re also doing all the regular day-to-day stuff too plus since you are the arms and legs in the household. I am a “do-er” too. Sometimes I really have to remind myself that I am a human being not a human doing. I wish you a happy year of contentment! You’re doing great.

  32. If you’re struggling with guilt a lot, you’re likely like me, and have a tendency to pile everything you would like to do in the “should” category.
    I _should_ stay up on class. I _should_ get the bathroom finished this year. I _should_ be more organized.

    The thing is: Who says you should?

    This shoulding is an arbitrary thing your brain decided that is based on nothing whatsoever besides your desire to do all the thing.

    So I find it’s really helpful to learn to break your to-do list up into 3 categories:

    Shoulds, wants, and stretch goals.

    Shoulds are things like “Feed pets”, “Feed yourself and Matt”, “Basic hygiene”, etc. You cannot skip them, not even for a day. They’re not negotiable. They’re actually _SHOULDs_.
    You know what they are without thinking about it, but it’s still helpful to sit down and make a list just so you will be amazed by the amount of these kinds of things you do in a day, every day.

    Wants are things that really ought to happen… but don’t have to happen today.
    Things like laundry, or “finish master bathroom”, or “clean the house”. Yeah, sure they ought to happen sometimes. But it doesn’t really matter if it’s today, tomorrow, or next week. Sometimes if you don’t do this stuff long enough (laundry) it becomes a should, but generally, it really isn’t if you’re on top of things… you just always feel as if it’s a should. But anything you could do tomorrow instead isn’t a should. It’s a “want to”.

    Then there are stretch goals, like taking a class at church.
    Sure these are things you would like to get to. But if you don’t, then whatever. Nothing happens. You just don’t do them. You DEFINITELY shouldn’t should yourself over these at all, ever.

    And thinking about it like that it makes perfect sense… yet at the same time, if you’re prone to guilting yourself, it’s remarkably difficult to resist the temptation to should yourself over all the things in all 3 lists. And to avoid subconsciously piling them all in the first category.

    So I find it helpful to whenever you start stressing about a task to take a moment and think about what kind of task it really is. So often it’s a stretch goal, and not even a want. And even if it’s a want, realizing that you don’t really have to do it TODAY, you just want to, helps relieve a lot of the guilt around not getting to it fast enough.