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Are you always the first one to volunteer for your kid’s school? Do you always say yes to girls’ night, not wanting to let a friend down? Or telling your husband you’d LOVE to do that new landscaping project this weekend?
I mean it always sounds like a good idea when new activities fall into your lap, but then when you see your schedule with everything lined up then your jaw drops open like “Say what?” I don’t have time for that, I just want to sleep!
Once you hit adult-land the list never seems to end, but here’s a newsflash, are you ready for this awe-inspiring advice?
You don’t have to do all the things.
Yeah, you heard me. I know Sally is a size 2, with her perfect designer jeans, and runs marathons, but that’s her deal.
And Carrie is the PTA president and raised $8,000,000 for the elementary school, but that’s her thing.
You know what’s not your thing? DOING ALL THE THINGS.
I read a book recently in a book club called Essentialism by Greg McKeown. The premise of this life-changing read?
Remember that if you don’t prioritize your life someone else will.”
Makes sense right? Life does not need to be this complicated and you don’t have to do all the things. It’s really very simple. Don’t worry about disappointing anyone, because if you’re letting yourself down that’s the suckiest thing of all.
I recently started feeling bad again. Not bad, awful. My health was deteriorating, I wasn’t sleeping, and I couldn’t do ANYTHING much less all the things. My income was non-existent and life was hard. To make matters worse I couldn’t say no.
I said yes to room mom.
I said yes to chairing a fundraiser at preschool.
I said yes to career day.
I said yes to a freelance gig I didn’t have time to do.
I said yes to every damn thing that came my way because I didn’t know that I didn’t have to do all the things!
And all this saying yes sounded super fun in theory, but in reality, it made things even worse. Because I wasn’t resting, I wasn’t taking care of myself, and I wasn’t enjoying life.
So I took my own advice and this quote to heart:
No is a complete sentence. —Anne Lamott”
I started saying no, and at first, it was terrifying.
I cut out workouts (for now) until I could catch up on life. I cut out anymore volunteering at school. I said no to a friend’s birthday party night. And I cut out the guilt too because let’s face it, we’re all our own worst enemies.
And you know what? The world didn’t stop. Everyone didn’t hate me (at least to my face), and I started to rest and feel better.
I now had time to prepare healthier foods. I had time to sleep and see my doctors. I had time to say yes to me time and meditate, journal and do yoga. I had time to say yes to my kids and sit and play with them. And I had time to say yes to reading again (one of my favorite things) and start spending more time with my husband. There’s a power in saying yes to the things we really need, and even more power in saying no to all the other things.
The non-essential things that are stopping us from doing what our hearts really want.
Essentialism: only once you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone, can you make your highest contribution towards the things that really matter.”
I went to a women’s workshop on a Sunday afternoon recently, and was asked the single hardest question I’ve even been asked, “What’s your heart’s desire?”
When I was doing all the things I couldn’t answer that question. I wouldn’t have time or space to even think about that question. But on this special Sunday, I finally was able to be still, give myself some peace, and finally listen to what I want.
So the next time you volunteer for a bake sale, agree to pet sit, or take on another client because the money is just too good to pass up remember:
Sometimes what you don’t do is just as important as what you do.”
Stop doing all the things, and watch how your life and your happiness transforms.
If you liked this post, then read How to Get What You Really Want.