For a long time now, I’ve been obsessed with personal improvement. I’ve been a personal trainer, a nutritionist and a self-help book junkie. What I’ve noticed over the years of striving to become a healthier, happier person, is how often professionals will recommend that you do [insert habit here] everyday. You should drink 2.5 L of water everyday, you should take xyz vitamin/supplement everyday, you should meditate everyday, you should exercise everyday, you should eat 9 servings of vegetables everyday, you should write in a gratitude journal everyday, you should walk 10,000 steps everyday, you should floss everyday, overwhelmed yet?
Last year, I read a book about success. It was essentially about living by a set of principles that can help guide your life rather than trying to make decisions in each individual situation based on emotion or whatever else might be influencing you at that time in your life. The one part of that book that had the biggest impact on me was the simple statement that you can spend your day in one of two ways: one is doing things that move you towards a goal, and the other is doing things that don’t move you towards a goal.
At first glance that might seem like a shit ton of pressure. Wow, I can either do the right or the wrong thing with my day. Great. I better be super focused and productive 100% of the time then right? No.
Thats not what I took away from it anyway. The way I see it is as a simple guidepost for whether on not something you’re focusing your time on is actually worth the time your spending on it. I also see all the little things that you give your attention to as drops in a bucket that can add up significantly over time.
For example, if you want to get into better shape, a ten minute walk is better than no walk at all. Every bit always counts.
One other statement that has impacted me greatly over the last year was a quote I heard, and I think it was by Oprah… It said “you can have everything, just not all at once.”
So how does all of this loop back around and determine what you should do everyday?
Well, I think it means that if you zoom out and look at the bigger picture, you can see that life will always naturally ebb and flow. You can accept that you can’t always expect to be able to uphold the exact same routines everyday; especially at a time in your life when your day is at the mercy of a baby or a small child. Ultimately, you can take a bit of pressure off of yourself because a time will come where you’ll have more time to focus on other things.
I believe, that as long as you are asking yourself if the things you ARE spending time on do move you somehow closer to a goal, then you can be assured that you are doing an amazing job, everyday.
If that means you spent your day cleaning up poop and not changing out of your pyjamas because you could barely keep your head above the chaos of motherhood? Good. You did something that contributed to your goal of creating a happy family life, because you spent your day doing exactly what your child needed that day.
Some days might not feel “productive” in the conventional sense of the word, but goals are not always career oriented, or fitness oriented, or about how clean your house is or how put together you appear. A lot of goals in your life are actually about how mentally well you are, how present you can be for the people you love or how accepting you can be of the challenges of day to day life.
I recently learned the difference between our deepest desires and our strongest desires. Our strongest desires are the things that pull us in our day to day, like growing an Instagram following, or keeping our house clean. Where as, our deepest desires are the much larger and more meaningful things we want across our life time like having meaningful work, being there for your family or spending more time on your hobbies that fill your cup.
Often times our strongest desires don’t match up very well with our deepest desires, so its great to check yourself once in a while.
Yes its great to eat healthy everyday, to be organized, to look great, to exercise. But the truth about balance is… that doesn’t mean you have to do them all, everyday. In my books, it means things balance out across the months and the years. Its not always about the days, so take a load off, mama and stop shoulding on yourself.
Share one thing you feel like you “should” be doing everyday in the comments to try and give it a bit less power over you!