Posted by: devonellington | January 6, 2020

Mon. Jan. 6, 2020: Jumping In: How Much is Too Much?

image courtesy of sasint via

First of all, happy Twelfth Night! May the last twelve nights of dreams bring you lots of luck and joy in the coming months. Happy start to Carnivale season, too.

One of my goals this year for the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site is to offer ideas, tools, tips, and opinions that will help us all achieve our goals, dreams, and resolutions over the year. The lists are helpful for public accountability, but there needs to be more. We can share ideas and support as well as sharing lists. I think (hope) it will make the site more useful to all of us.

There’s a lot of whining around the end of the year and the start of a new one. People grumble about not making New Year’s Resolutions because they only break them.

I believe people often break resolutions they feel they SHOULD make to appease others instead of the ones the WANT to make for themselves. The Shoulds don’t mean enough to do the work to achieve them; instead, they cause resentment, procrastination, and, too often, are ignored instead of a measured choice made to say, “I don’t want to do this. I’m going to drop this resolution.”

I believe resolutions are important. If someone doesn’t want to do them, that’s fine. But they need to stop berating those of us who make resolutions so that they feel better about not bothering to keep their own in past years. You don’t want to set resolutions? Fine. You need to do what’s best for you. But keep your derision and sarcasm away from those who are working toward something.

I believe it’s important to set goals and make the bar high for oneself. If you make a list of things that are easy and you do anyway (like brush your teeth) just to cross them off, you’re not stretching yourself and it defeats the purpose. On the other hand, if you set a goal that’s so far out of reach you can’t even break it down and work on any of it, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

I believe it’s important to stretch AND balance.

Do I overload my yearly and monthly lists? Yes. I get discouraged when I don’t get it all done. But I’ve also learned (the hard way, through life experience) that it’s important to have the list and yet remain flexible when life throws things at me. It feels a bit like log-rolling, but there it is.

How much is too much?

We each have different answers. I have different answers on different days. There are days when I feel ready to take on anything. There are days when I just want to go back to bed. There are times when I have to push harder, no matter what I’m feeling, because I don’t have the luxury of not getting something done. There are days I have to let something go in order to preserve my health, or because someone close to me needs help.

The desire to start fresh and make each year bigger and better causes us to overload ourselves at the beginning. While I’m a big believer in working ahead rather than procrastinating, it’s easy to overestimate what we can achieve on both physical and emotional levels, and to remember that life will always throw us curve balls.

Life is messy. We try to organize with lists and apps, but, ultimately, it’s messy, and coping skills are our best defense.

I have things that HAVE to be achieved this year. My back is against the wall on them. I have things I WANT to achieve this year. I have to constantly weigh each of them against each other and make daily choices.

You’ve seen my January list. It’s huge.

When it comes to the writing, I have to take the project on the tightest deadline and work on it first (my first 1000 words of the day) and build all the other projects around it. The client work has to be slotted in, too, because that’s what keeps a roof over my head. I’ve added health and fitness to the list, because regaining some of the fitness ground I’ve lost and keeping healthy is the only way I can meet my goals. I can’t let purging the basement go any longer because I need to clean and let go of everything I don’t need in order to move later this year. When we moved here, we didn’t purge much — we took it all along, planning to purge when we got here, and then never did. That has to change.

But if I plug away every day, and use some of the new tools on my list, I believe I’ll be in better shape a few months down the line than I was last year.

I’m already in a better place mentally than I was last year over the holidays and at the turn of the year. That helps enormously.

Never underestimate the strength of willpower and determination.

Every goal boils down to “How badly do I want this?”

When you don’t want it badly enough to do what’s necessary to achieve it, it doesn’t get done. It’s not a failure. It’s a choice. Make this the year you own your choices. When you choose to let something go — celebrate it.

How much is too much? I’ll know at the end of every month, and on December 31 next year!

How do you decide what is too much?


  1. When I look at my To Do list and see something that didn’t get done. Then I ask myself: a) am I avoiding doing that one thing, b) is there too much on my list. Usually, it’s because I had too much on the list for my realistic ability to get it done in the time I allotted myself. I tend to forget I’m old when I make the list out.

  2. Absolutely! I forget I’m not 20 anymore. Sometimes, though, I’m focusing on something that isn’t the right choice, and my inner resistance is trying to warn me. And sometimes it’s hard to know the difference!

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