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How far do I push myself?

It’s a common theme that comes up in sessions. Do I push myself, do I challenge myself, do I force myself to get up and go do the things that I don’t really want to do right now, but that I think I should do, that others say I should, or that will lead to the goals I set myself? Or should I listen to the voice that says no, take it easy, you don’t really want to do that, look after yourself, rest. They’re both my voice talking to me, which do I go with?

There’s no straight answer. There’s merit in both. And there’s the quandary. So, let’s look to those with “success” (whatever that means) and those with wisdom (whatever that means). Many of the people we look up to, those in the spotlight for their achievement in some area of life, tend to be the people that say ‘go for it’, ‘do it’, ‘push through the pain/fear/procrastination’. Get yourself into a peak state and go for it. And they do well. At least for a while.

Then there are those who have pushed and pushed, and it hasn’t paid off. Even if they have had material ’success’ in achieving those goals, there is always another goal, another level, another trophy to win. They live with perpetual dissatisfaction, struggle and striving. Is that how you want to live? Maybe.

We also know that the body/mind speaks to us. There is much to be said for listening to what your body/mind/gut is telling you. It warns us when we need to rest, for the sake of our own physical health or our wellbeing. If we don’t listen that voice tends to get louder til it literally forces us to stop. But it has also been said that that only happens when we are not ‘on path’, when we are not living in alignment with our own true values and our own purpose (again, whatever that is).

So perhaps its both. Perhaps a bit of balance is needed. Research has shown that it is having a goal, not necessarily achieving it, that leads to happiness. And that progress leads to happiness. As long as we are progressing, we feel good. And by the way, we don’t have to achieve EVERY goal we set. Some are just not meant to be achieved, not for us anyway. There is something better in store.

So maybe it’s about balance. Set a goal, work towards it, but realise there will be setbacks along the way. It doesn’t have to happen in exactly the timeframe or the way you expected it to happen. Life is not a race (unless you enjoy the race, then go for it). But if you’re not enjoying it then keep perspective. What are you really here for anyway? Surely its not to drive yourself mad with things that don’t feel good?

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