I know I’ve had my fair share of “When I Was Young” lectures from the post-war generations about what  it means to suffer (and it’s always implied that without suffering on the same level we can never live up to them).⁠ ⁠

Yes, we are hardwired to thrive on challenges, difficulties, pain and limitations. Those are the times that allow us to rise up to the occasion and become a better version of ourselves.⁠ ⁠

But I think you can also get paralysed if your expectations are too big.

When you feel like your effort is wasted or like no matter what you do it won’t make a difference anyway.⁠ ⁠ That paralysis is counterproductive.

On those days, I scale it back and tell myself that all I have to do that day is do one thing. Just one thing.⁠ ⁠ Get out of bed. Put some food in my mouth. Put on pants. Check off one thing from the to-do list.

And sometimes I’ll add super simple things to my to-do list just so I can check them off. ⁠ ⁠

Eat lunch ✅⁠
Drink water ✅⁠
Read one page ✅⁠
Write one paragraph ✅⁠
Load dishwasher ✅⁠
Move laundry from hamper to machine ✅⁠
Start the washing machine ✅⁠ ⁠

I use this to build up a sense of progression, some momentum. Pretty soon my “only one thing” things add up to a whole day of having gotten stuff done, checking items off my list, but without that paralysing feeling of it being all too much.⁠


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