The cost of pushing yourself beyond your limit

The old saying “It's not a sprint, it's a marathon” always replays in my head when I am burnt out or super sore and unable to get the same intensity out of my next workout. You’d think it’d give me some resolve but that saying is on constant repeat in my head almost weekly. From talking to people around me however, it seems I’m not the only one struggling with balance and having the foresight that more is not always better. So in an effort to help you from suffering in this constant cycle, let's explore why and attempt to navigate through this detrimental behavior in our pursuit of “success”.

For the most part, all of us go through this in some way on a physical level. The most obvious example of this I’m sure we all have a story in which our attempt in carrying ALL of the groceries in with one trip leading to a few broken eggs, a trip up the stairs or a few cans rolling down the driveway. Typically the risk is worth the reward and we usually continue to do this regardless of “potential consequences”.

This type of behavior can and usually becomes more detrimental when we start exploring it on a mental level. With everyday stresses at an all time high, it's easy to ignore the warning signs and attempt to “push through” burn out because things “just need to get done”. That combined with the ever growing lists of distractions in our lives, compound the problem and the highs and lows of our energy, focus, mood and motivation become more like a roller coaster than something that we can count on to help navigate our day to day. As this compounds overtime, things fall through the cracks and usually you are doing more harm than good trying to play catch up rather than actually recovering.

So how do we get off the roller coaster and find more balance? That question is one that I think about constantly and I think it's a little different for everyone. The first thing to think about however is to check in with yourself constantly. Ask yourself how you feel, what you want to get done in a given task to feel fulfilled and what your ultimate goal is. Try to shift your perspective from solely deadline oriented to more lifestyle oriented. Look at setbacks or incompletions of tasks as learning experiences not failures. And most importantly, just be kind to yourself. I’m willing to bet you’re doing the best you can. Remember “it's not a sprint, it's a marathon.”

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