Inspiration Tips

Why the Myth of Doing It All Keeps You from Succeeding

“You Can Do Anything, but You Can’t Do Everything.”

2017 is going to be the year for the everyday woman. For me, it’s going to be the year I finally learn how to sew, the year I am going to read more books, and the year I am going to live more intentionally. The lightness of the season calls us to be more inspired, spend more time doing the things we love and enjoy, and to be more authentically ourselves.

As I run into 2017 steadfast, I know many people out there (myself included) have tons of ideas about how to turn it all around, and generally what could make us happier in the coming months and year. So many ideas and goals in fact that we convince ourselves “This is the year I’m going to do it all.”

I recently read that only 8% of people who set resolutions for the New Year actually achieve them. While I somewhat agree with New Year’s dissenters that you should continually be striving to improve yourself and that you don’t need a holiday to set new goals, I’m shocked at the lowness of this number and can only muse why so few people accomplish their big and bold yearly goals.

Maybe they pull a goal out of thin air for sake of the season? Maybe the goal is too big?

But what about the people who do try to tackle their big goals? I’ve found in my own life that as we set our to-do lists and calendars and schedule in time to meet our goals, some other task or event gets in the way of making any progress. As we try to do it all, we lose sight of our biggest dreams and ambitions.

Why does the myth of doing it all persist?

We live in an era of instant gratification, with the impression given by advertisements and social media that people can simply and easily do it all, without any hardships. We are surrounded by the question from our peers and family, “how do they do it all” without understanding the whole story and only seeing the surface.

As a recent college graduate, I spent my last semester of college working two jobs and going to school full time. I was asked a question on a similar note, “How do you do it?”

While I was certainly busy, I was by no means “doing it all.” More often than not, my apartment was a mess, I spent most of my meals eating takeout, and went weeks without spending time with friends and family.

Letting Go of Perfection

While I certainly wished and attempted to do it all, there simply was not enough hours in the day to make room for both my goals and the appearance of having it all together. Instead of trying to make it seem like I had it all, I let go of the idea that perfection can be achieved. Isn’t that what “doing it all,” really means anyway? It’s just a high bar that we’ve set for ourselves based on what we think we “should” be doing.

Life is a lot more fun and purposeful when we stop trying to be perfect. The idea that we can do it all immediately sets us up for failure. When we do this, we also tell ourselves that our goals simply aren’t a priority, that they only measure up to some of the other mundane things on our to-do lists. A simple change in mindset can help you refocus.

Instead of looking back on my experience negatively, I realize that even though my apartment was a mess, I had a place to go home to. While my meals weren’t home-cooked, I was fortunate to have a full stomach. While I lost out on quality time with friends and family, I had my biggest supporters cheering me on from afar.

For the new year, I challenge you to stop comparing yourself to others, set manageable goals, be intentional about what you do and don’t take on, and realize that you’re only human.

I am reminded of the quote “You Can Do Anything, but You Can’t Do Everything.” A goal you set for yourself is a goal worth doing well. For some of the other things on our to-do lists, done is sometimes better than perfect.

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