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Releasing The Pressure You Put On Yourself

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As I write this, it is Sunday, January 16th and I haven’t set any goals for 2022 yet. I have days where I know that this is totally okay, and I have days, like today, where I feel as though I’m not doing enough. Today especially, I was lying in bed watching Jerry McGuire, thinking, “could you be any lazier?” Even though it is Sunday and I simply want to relax. 

Logically, I know that it is absolutely okay to spend time in rest and doing things just for the fun of it. But when we put so much pressure on ourselves, our logical mind isn’t always the one who is doing the thinking. 

I share that to let you know that you are not alone. This share is just as much for me as it is for you. 

I have an old pattern that I have been working on breaking. The old pattern was to rush and hustle and stress my way towards doing ALL THE THINGS and thinking I had to KNOW ALL THE THINGS. 

Inside of that pattern, as soon as the calendar turned over to January 1, if I didn’t have goals set and being actioned by the first week, I already felt behind. 

As I step into this new year, I want to do things differently. I want to begin the new year with what I have learned and deeply know, which is, there is no need to rush, or hustle or stress my way towards anything, nor do I have to know it all. 

We, including me, put so much pressure on ourselves. 

A pressure to perform. 
The pressure to do all the things. 
So much pressure to be all the things. 
You feel the pressure to know all the things. 
You experience pressure to set the goals. 
Then the pressure to achieve the goals. 
Pressure to be perfect and pressure to do everything perfectly. 

So much pressure that we are like an over inflated ballon. It would just take the slightest touch for it to pop. At any moment, we are going to blow. We are pressure cookers with a deep desire to have the valve released so that we can feel some sense of mental and emotional freedom. 

The past couple of years, I have been in a practice of taking that pressure off of myself. Including, the pressure to always be setting goals and chasing something new. I want to  take the time to think about what I want next. To really feel into it, knowing it’s okay if I don’t set another goal until it aligns with my heart, my values and my terms of success. Knowing that it’s okay to just want what I currently have until a new desire inspires me to take action. 

I’m not embracing the New Year, New You concept, nor am I judging it. If this inspires you, please fully embrace it. Always do what feels correct for you and trust in that. But for me, it makes me feel like who I am right now isn’t okay, and I feel like I just started to really love who I am and what I’m doing with my life. For me, the New Year, New You feels like more pressure.

Instead of always feeling like I need to be better, or do better (more pressure), I have been asking myself, in moment to moment experiences, “Do I like who I’m being right now?” Or, “How do I want to show up for this? Who do I want to be in this moment?” This allows me to change and not be put into a specific box. For me, this releases some of that pressure. I just get to be the me that I currently am in that moment. If I don’t like who I’m being, I don’t have to judge myself, I can simply choose again and show up the way I want to show up. 

I was having a conversation with my best friend Jolene on the Sisterhood Podcast, and we were pondering the question, “Who am I?” I mentioned to her that I had just written that question in my journal and my response had been, “You are everything.” I don’t believe there is one answer to that very deep question because we are always changing, moment to moment, day by day, and year after year. 

So I have removed the pressure of setting goals and resolutions, trying to give something up that I don’t want to give up, or achieve something because I think I should. I have replaced that with something else, which is to continue the practice of showing up as my highest, most authentic self. Of course, some days are harder than others to do that depending on what it happening in the external world. Which is why it is a practice. This is another way to take the pressure off ourselves – assume that all practices will be perfectly imperfect. 

Almost daily, I ask myself these 5 questions, which you may know already from previous blogs, but here they are again: 

1. What do I need to do to support myself mentally today? 
2. What do I need to do to support myself emotionally today? 
3. What do I need to do to support myself physically today? 
4. What do I need to do to support myself attitudinally today? Sometimes I need an attitude adjustment. 
5. What do I need to do to support myself spiritually today? 

These questions allow me to change when I need to change and to understand that what I needed or wanted yesterday, may not be what I need or want today. They help me to be more in the present moment, not fretting over the past, or caught in the worry trap of future-tripping. And they also remind me that I may not have control over external circumstances, but my inner world is all mine and I get to choose what I do to take care of myself mentally, emotionally, physically, attitudinally and spiritually. No one can take that from me, or from you. 

Lastly, I am also not entering into this new year reflecting on what I have done or not done in 2021 with judgement. Self-judgement is truly the heaviest kind of pressure we put on ourselves. 

As an example, I am not going to judge myself for what on paper appears to not have been what the external world would rate as a standard successful business year. Success is relative and is different for everyone. Even though I didn’t achieve my 2021 financial goals, I  did an amazing job over the past two years to shift my business the way I had to so that revenue could flow back in, even during all the lockdowns.

I feel like even through the challenges that 2020-2021 brought, it was a pretty darn successful year because I feel good about who I was and how I showed up for myself and others this year.

If you are feeling pressure today, or any day, give yourself permission to try to release some of it. Imagine releasing the air from a blown to tight balloon, or releasing the valve from a pressure cooker, so that the air can be let out. Give yourself a well deserved mental break. 

There is enough to worry about in life other than the pressure of unmet goals, failed resolutions, or goals and vision boards that weren’t created yet. Perhaps that goal needed more time than 365 days. Or maybe you need more time to reflect on what you want in the year ahead. All of it is okay. You are exactly where you need to be. There is no judgement on wherever you are, or are not in your journey. 

The most important thing I want you to remember is that your heart is your best, most honest, truest, trustworthy guide. It will never point you in the wrong direction and will always lead you towards your truest north. It will also remind you, when you are putting too much pressure on yourself, that it is okay if today you simply live moment by moment. 

What pressure can you take off of yourself?


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© 2014 Contagiously Positive
All rights reserved
Website by Monolith Digital