Stepping back from what you think you want

There is often a lot of pressure to know what we want and then to go for it.

We’re made to feel as though we should be go, go, go, otherwise we’re seen to just be lazy or wasting time.

And often this societal pressure leads to us chasing after things we’re not even sure we really want. It’s only when you slow down and step back that you realise you’ve been moving towards a life that might be wonderful for somebody else but it’s not what you really want.

Perfect timing

Sometimes with little to no effort things work out perfectly. You know those moments where you think I couldn’t have planned this any better than exactly how it’s worked it. I think these moments are even better when they’ve come as a result of you letting go and not putting so much pressure on how things work out.

I feel like perfect timing happens on accident, it just happens. If you spend ages planning and trying to force things to turn out a certain way, the outcome might be great but it was the result of your hard work.

On the flipside when things just happen to turn out perfectly it can serve as a reminder that you don’t have to keep your nose to the grindstone in order for things to turn out wonderfully.

Overwhelmed

People that have have a habit of taking on more than they can manage rarely make the effort to try and ease their load. Instead they accept the period of stress as though there is no other choice. In fact they’ve come to rely on the stress and looming deadlines to spur them on and get things done.

However, this doesn’t always work. Sometimes the stress just leaves you stressed.

That’s not what you want when you’re under the impression that you can use stress to your advantage.

Sometimes stress leaves you overwhelmed and unable to focus like normal to the point where you’d rather quit than carry on. It’s not healthy to put yourself under unnecessary pressure, especially when you have the option to make things easier for yourself.

And so start paying attention to yourself. How much can you take on before you start to feel overwhelmed? Learn to start saying no before you reach your limit and end up feeling overloaded.

What matters most?

When it comes to what is important sometimes we confuse external pressures or expectations with what really matters to us personally.

In doing so we end up focusing on and prioritising the wrong things.

These external things could come from work, family or friends and they overwhelm us because we aren’t clear about what we’re willing to give.

Maybe you end up working late because you have a lot of deadlines in a short period of time and it’s important that it gets done. But, if you take the time to think it turns out that what matters most to you is that you have time to de-stress as being busy has you in a constant state of overwhelm.

It’s important that the work get’s done but our wellbeing is what matters most.

Even if you know what matters most sometimes it still turns out that we’re not able to acknowledge and take action in the moment. It’s only upon reflection that we’re able to identify what we should have done at the time.

Breaks and streaks

Taking breaks will always be necessary. However, when you commit to doing something every single day, suddenly taking a break becomes a little more difficult.

As much as you can try and make up for it the day before or the day after, it’s not quite the same as maintaining consistency.

Once you’ve stuck with something as a daily habit for a couple of months or even a few weeks, the thought of missing a day and losing that streak isn’t particularly tempting.

And so it becomes easier to not take breaks.

But as great as it is to be consistent and build daily habits, you never want to apply so much pressure that you won’t let yourself take a break even when you feel like you need it.

The best thing I’ve ever written

When you’re sharing your words online everyday there is very little pressure for what you post to be the best thing you’ve ever written.

If todays words aren’t particularly good, I know that I can always write something better tomorrow or the day after.

Sometimes what I consider to be my some of my best work doesn’t gain the numbers that I think it will or should. Other times, the stuff I’m pretty indifferent about ends up becoming the most popular.

I’ve written posts that I thought were my best at the time only to look back months later and realise it could have been so much better.

And so the idea of my best work is pretty flexible. If in 20 months of daily blogging, this post was the best thing I’d ever written, I have no doubt that I’d change my mind a few months later.

Reminding myself of all this makes blogging every day so much easier.

Putting pressure on the outcome

In periods of uncertainty we often put an excessive amount of pressure on a particular outcome.

You tell yourself you’ll be be happy if things turn out one way and that the other outcome will be a disaster.

And of course, in life often one option is much better than the other. However, too much attachment to something you have no control over can have unhelpful impacts.

What happens when things don’t turn out the way you wanted?

I’ve learnt that it is much more helpful to focus on yourself and your own well being and not be so dictated by external influences. That way even when things don’t turn out the way you’d have liked, you’ll still be totally fine.

How to know when you’ve made the right decision

It’s all in how it feels.

When you find yourself with a choice to make between A and B, the main challenge will be wanting to make the right decision.

You don’t want to pick an option that you might later regret. But the truth is most of the time, you never really know how you’ll feel a month or a year down the line.

And as much as you can go back and forth, at the end of the day you have to choose.

I find that that it helps to put as little pressure on the decision as possible. Sometimes even make a game of it, put your options into an online hat that will pick for you or pick flower petals.

Whatever you end up choosing if you feel calm and at peace granted part of that will come from no longer having the burden of deciding on your shoulders but the feeling of peace will also be from having made the right choice for you.

Disappointing yourself

When you hold yourself to certain expectations it’s likely you’ll end up disappointed if you can’t meet them.

That tends to happen when you put too much pressure on yourself.

Furthermore, how you feel toward yourself will override how anyone else may feel about you falling short.

You could be told that ‘it’s alright, you did your best’, or even ‘it was good, you have nothing to worry about’. But the thing is when you hold yourself to a standard of ‘nothing less than perfection’ it becomes difficult to be comforted by the reassurance of other.

It’s hard disappointing yourself, feeling let down and having no one else to blame. But it gives you a great opportunity to think about what can do better next time.

Short-term pressure

In the right environment pressure can be a really good thing. For example when you’re focused and working hard a couple days (or hours) before a deadline.

But that feeling isn’t something we should rely on to get things done or have in our life on a daily basis.

Although it can be helpful in the short-term, the long-term effects are best avoided.

Things like low energy, insomnia, chest pain, headaches and tense muscles can all come as a result of pressure.

But a little pressure here and there isn’t so bad if you know how to make use of it.