You don’t have to make it harder.

You should start your day with a cold shower because it will make you more energetic and productive. At least, such is the advice that makes the rounds on productivity websites once a year or so. If cold showers are your thing, carry on. But if cold showers sound torturous while to-do lists supercharge your day, make the lists instead. You don’t have to make it harder.

My dental hygienist tells me to use an extra-soft toothbrush. (I promise this is about more than personal hygiene.) It’s hard to break a lifelong habit of using the stiffest toothbrush I can find, but receding gums aren’t great either. So I finally listened, and guess what? My teeth feel no less clean than before. It doesn’t have to be hard to be effective.

Study hard. Work hard. Train hard. Practice hard. We’re all familiar with these mantras. But not everything needs or deserves the full force of your effort. You can take the blow off class. You can work out less and run shorter distances. You can play music for pleasure instead of performance. Not everything has to be hard.

You can take a break. From school, from work (vacation days are meant to be used), from running, from clubs and hobbies. You can take a break and come back to keep working hard and doing hard things. But it doesn’t have to be hard all the time.

I’m sorry to tell you this, because it’s painful knowledge for me too. But nothing, absolutely nothing, is perfect. Which means that at some point you have to stop trying make something perfect and let it go. Good enough is good enough. You tried hard enough.

People say that doing hard things brings personal growth. They’re right, of course. Sometimes hard things catalyze growth. But sometimes hard things just suck. You don’t have to take on every hard thing that comes your way.

Life is hard. You don’t have to make it harder.

 

 

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4 Comment

  1. Farrah says: Reply

    I love this post–it’s so very true! I think it’s important to give yourself breaks (I definitely had a problem with doing this in the past, so being able to recognize that was honestly one of the best changes I’ve ever realized/made!)!

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      I am ok about giving myself breaks, but then I start to feel like I am taking them too often! It can be hard to balance for sure.
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  2. Love this so much! I am absolutely going to take this advice for all of 2018! I’ve decided to spend the whole year running for fun instead of doing hard training. I love my easy runs and am getting a little tired of following a strict schedule and meeting certain paces. 2018 will be the year of easy for me. 🙂
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    1. Hannah says: Reply

      That sounds like a nice break!

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