There’s something about checking items off this all-powerful list that feels so incredibly good, so accomplished and so purposeful. But as much as a to-do list helps organize and remind me of all my so-called important stuff, to-do lists also have the power to make me feel like complete crap.
Long to-do list = Overwhelmed and cranky
One of the most popular reasons my clients give me for not being able to stay consistent with their exercise is they are overwhelmed with stuff they have to do. And whether their to-do list is a physical list or the kind that floats around in their head gnawing away at their subconscious, they all have one tucked away somewhere.
“I’m sooooo busy!”
In case you haven’t noticed, we are an over scheduled, overly committed and to-do list obsessed culture. It’s not just a type-A thing. “Busy” is this millennium’s medal of honor and we proudly wear it in all its anxiety-ridden glory.
But here’s a little secret to the glorified busy’s and endless to-do lists; our problem isn’t because we have too many responsibilities, can’t set boundaries or have screwed up priorities. Did I hear a sigh of relief?
Being busy actually serves us on a much deeper level and until we understand this, we will continue running in our hamster wheel of endless tasks, commitments, activities and engagements wishing we weren’t so… busy.
Existing in a state of constant “doing” and “producing” makes us feel important, needed, wanted, worthy and dare I say, even loved. Feeling desperate to complete every item on our to-do list is how many of us “fill-up our cup” so to speak. Living in a constant state of busy is a socially celebrated action we practice in order to avoid doing the hard work on ourselves (i.e. self care) and it’s the number one reason I get from clients as to why they cannot take care of their own health.
So why would I tell you to take exercise off your to-do list?
Because there are too many things on your to-do list already and also because of what I’m about to you;
You will never get it all done. Plain and simple. You will never get it all done.
If you’ve ever owned a home, you know what I’m talking about. What happens as soon as you fix something or install something in your home? Yep, you guessed it. Something else breaks or something else needs to be installed. And on and on the cycle goes. Surprisingly enough, life happens to be very similar.
Your life is never finished until you die and so goes the to-do list. Placing exercise on your busy list of external validators pretty much guarantees a fall off the wagon.
So what do you do?
Believe and declare that you are complete in your incompleteness. Approach your must-do tasks from a place of wholeness rather than a place of needing and desperation. When we can exist in a place of wholeness and don’t need the little things to validate our worth we not only practice living in the now, the time and space for things that really matter to us begins to appear and the guilt for putting our self first begins to shrink.
You cannot stress your way to peace nor can you consistently guilt yourself into the gym. You are incomplete and will never get it all done. This, my friend, is a good thing.