Trying to do too much, functioning on automatic, and/or acting out of obligation only leads to a joyless, burned out state. You might be able to work 60 hours a week for a while, but in the end you will only damage yourself. And, when the time comes to part with this life, you may very well be wondering, “Why did I waste my precious, limited time on the unnecessary, unimportant, or mundane?”
If you feel like your life is out of control, off track, or just “too” much, maybe it’s time to pause and consider where you can set limits. A periodic bout of limit setting can bring improvement even when life seems to be moving swimmingly well.
The Wisdom of Limitation
Setting limits is required to live in a conscious and sane way. Consider all the possible benefits that can come when you take the reins and become the director of your life:
- The opportunity to focus on the activities that bring you meaning, satisfaction, and joy.
- Receiving the greatest benefit and return on investment for your energy and time.
- The ability to do more in less time.
- The feeling of being in control instead of reacting to what comes down the pike.
- More energy and less stress.
- More time for whatever is most important to you from special work projects to relationships to leisure activities.
Three Essential Questions for Designing a Reasonable Life
How do you focus on the important and let go of the rest? Try out these three essential questions to help you set realistic limits and design a more reasonable life.
1. What’s Your Actual Capacity?
Some people thrive on activity while others are introverts who need introspective time. Some are robust and others have to contend with less than stellar health. Be honest about your capacity instead of allowing others to determine the number of hours you work, interact, play, or rest each week.
2. What Are Your Goals and Priorities?
What is it that you truly wish to accomplish today, this month, this year, this life? The key to setting effective limits is to have a clear vision of your priorities and goals. Then, align your choices with your vision and set distractions aside. Focus only on your most important goals – not more than three – rather than a long list of possibilities that may paralyze you with confusion or doubt.
3. What Could You Limit?
Review your life for non-essential, time-wasting tasks and energy draining activities that detract from your happiness. Explore the following arenas, ask what’s really necessary, and begin hacking away.
- Work Projects
- Social Activities
- Social Media Engagement
- Number of Clients
- Healthcare Appointments
- Negative Thoughts
- Thinking Too Much
- Energy Drains
- Giving More Than 100%
- Time Wasters
- Reading – Blogs, Newspapers, Books
- Everything – Is a vacation or sabbatical in order?
What did I miss?
Setting My Limits
I’m setting limits myself. It seems everywhere I turn I see or hear a message advising me to do just this. My April I-Ching Report spoke of the freedom that comes for establishing limits. Then, my April horoscope spelled it out beyond doubt:
“Limit distractions so you can shine your torch on your innermost desires.
Most importantly, I feel this in the core of my being. So, with this in mind, I’m taking a break this week. You won’t see me online!
Could your life use a limit review? Are there areas where you are taking on too much? I would love to hear your thoughts.
I’m so glad you’re here! If you liked this article, please consider subscribing for free updates by email. With love, Sandra