How to Push Yourself without Killing Yourself

I get it...I’m a type A goal setting go-getter. I make goals for myself and then I set about making them happen.

When I have a task in front of me, I don’t back down.  If I’m really excited about it, it consumes me.

Add that to the fact that I put too much on my plate in general and I create the perfect recipe for complete burnout.

I’ve been there...on the couch, watching a Harry Potter marathon because my brain just can’t function anymore after weeks of pushing myself so hard.

After going through this cycle one time too many, I learned how to push myself without killing myself.

The secret to pushing myself without killing myself?  Honoring down time and readjusting my overly high expectations.

 

HIGH EXPECTATIONS ARE GOOD...TO A POINT

Don’t get me wrong; I am the first to encourage people to set high expectations for themselves to challenge themselves.

But, where it goes wrong is by setting them so high that you can’t reasonably achieve them.

I believe in hard work and know the sweet taste of accomplishment when completing something I’ve envisioned and worked tirelessly to achieve.

But...

If realizing your goals requires you to sacrifice time with yourself, your family, or friends...
it’s not reasonable.

If getting to the finish line means not doing the things you enjoy or taking the time to relax...
it’s not reasonable.

 

Yes, you may get a lot done, but at what cost?

And for those goals that are just too big to achieve at this stage, what then?  You push yourself and focus solely on a task that you can’t achieve yet, and you end up feeling discouraged.  You beat yourself up when you just can’t cross that finish line.

Sound familiar?

 

HONORING DOWN TIME

I’m going to let you in on a little secret…

The key to being successful in life is not working yourself to death...it’s honoring your down time.

There’s a difference between being lazy and taking intentional downtime.

When you take a break, laugh with friends, or lose yourself in doing something you absolutely love, you’re giving your brain a chance to recover.

You’re lowering your stress and allowing your body to relax.

Spending time away from your to-do list or working on your goals is like sleeping every night.  It allows your body and mind to recharge.  

How functional would you be if you never slept, or only slept every few weeks (and then felt guilty about sleeping?!).

 

Downtime is part of the process to achieving your goals.

 

By giving your mind a break, you come back refreshed.  You’ll also find a boost in your creativity which allows you to make breakthroughs and create even better solutions or ideas.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

When I was struggling with this in the past, one of my coaching friends told me that even while taking the night off, I was still working on my goals.

That has stuck with me, and I now incorporate time off in my schedule, and it’s helped me immensely in staying sane!

When you work yourself to the point of exhaustion, it’s not just you that suffers...the work you’re doing on your project or goal suffers as well.

To push yourself hard, you have to honor your down and be realistic in what you can reasonably achieve.  

You can still challenge yourself and push yourself!  But, it’s doing it more wisely, without the inevitable burnout.