Over the last two months, I have been trying to keep up with my New Years Resolutions while juggling jobs, friendships, my relationship and my life. I have spent the last two years reading self help memoirs about women working towards the best version of themselves. And after two months, I am ready to throw in the towel.
I think, aspirational wise, I have fallen into the trap. The trap so many of us fall into when we spend too much time on Instagram, scrolling through people with fabulous lives doing fabulous things. From, “I lost 300 pounds through diet and exercise and you can too,” to “I cultivated happiness through charting” to “I own and run a million-dollar business AND am a mom of 4,” there are so many people kicking butt, taking names, and making it look easy. They talk about how hard it is, of course, but from the outside, distilled and perfect, it looks easy.
I structured my new years resolutions this year as things that I genuinely wanted to do. I broke them into monthly, weekly, and daily goals. I have been scrawling on calendars and making notes and pushing myself to my limit to meet these goals.
And I have realized why so many people quit their resolutions. Often, the resolutions set, once you put them on paper and get to them, are harder than they look. And because I have put so many out there, from diet to exercise to volunteering to this blog to my work life to my writing life, I have set myself up for perfection burnout.
I want to be the best version of myself. But working to be the best version of myself with strict rules, little forgiveness, lots of guilt and little room for error is making me miserable. It’s making my anxiety worse, ramping up my depression, and the quest to make myself better is making me worse.
I still want to work on my resolutions. I still want to focus on my body getting stronger, and putting things in my body that aren’t basically plastic. I want to work on my book, because I love my book. I want to work on my blog, because I value the creative outlet.
But counting hours and steps and tracking my every move and making myself read a book every week and painting my nails every week and trying to keep tabs on all of it is burning me out in both my jobs and my life.
I’m not going back to the “gentle on my soul” approach to living, because I feel like that leaves a lot of room for me to just go ahead and not do things when I don’t want to. But I want to take care of all of myself, and that includes giving myself breaks and not beating myself up when I screw up.
So cheers, to 2018. May I not stress myself out so much over self improvement projects.
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