A New Year’s Resolution for Over Achievers


Calling all my over achiever friends!  You know who you are.

You wrote down your New Year’s Resolutions in December.  You put pen to paper and hung them in a visible place or you bought an app that tracks your resolutions and sends you weekly reminders. You’ve asked friends to keep you accountable with you resolutions–partly because accountability seems to ensure higher success rates, but partly because, it makes you feel good to impress others with your lofty (but achievable for you, wink wink) goals and resolutions.

Now, I’m not going to knock your resolutions. They aren’t bad. In fact, I’m sure most are even great!

But from one recovering over achiever to another, here is my challenge for you.

For every goal or resolution you set for yourself this year to accomplish, achieve, or do, define one thing you won’t do this year.

A few years ago, I read a life-changing chapter in a book called Bittersweet by Shauna Neiquist. The title of the chapter is simple: Things I don’t do.

Shauna puts it like this:

I love the illusion of being able to do it all, and I’m fascinated with people who seem to do that, who have challenging careers and beautiful homes and vibrant minds and well-tended abs.

One of my core fears is that someone would think I can’t handle as much as the next person.

I love the illusion of being able to do it all so much that it made me a New Year’s Resolution MONSTER.  Each year, I had to craft bigger and better resolutions than the year before, to prove to myself and others that I was always growing and improving.  But eventually, it caught up with me.  I had created a laundry list of all these goals and achievements I wanted to continue to uphold, master, and perfect.

The truth is that if we want to be really great at some things, we have to chose to not be great at other things.

You and I can’t do it all.  So, my dear over achiever, when you look at your laundry list for 2015 of all the glorious goals you will accomplish, what are you going to cut out of your life or chose to not do in order to prioritize the do’s? And I’m not talking about more resolutions like “I won’t bite my nails.”  I’m talking real things that you free yourself from having to be great at.

Things I don’t do: (to name a few)

I don’t bargain shop. I’m not good at it and I don’t enjoy it.  Most, if not all, women will always be much better at this than me.

I don’t bake. Sure, I’ll make a 3-ingredient cookie from time to time, but overall baking is too specific and the process generally annoys me.

I don’t do zumba, dance cardio, or anything similar. I love a good workout, but I’m just not excited about dancing with a bunch of women in lines to get my sweat on.  Plus, I look like an idiot.

I don’t do crafts, DIY, pinterest projects, or anything of the like– including paint and sip parties. Let’s throw in sewing, knitting, and all other needle point projects as well.  I’m not artistic and similar to baking, the process just makes me cranky.

So, what are you not going to do in 2015?

Let’s stop trying to create the illusion that we can do it all. We can’t do it all.

Go ahead. Next to that list of glorious resolutions for 2015, write down another list of “things you don’t do.”  Keep them next to each other to remind yourself you can’t do it all but if you prioritize well, you can do some things great.

4 thoughts on “A New Year’s Resolution for Over Achievers”

  1. I.LOVE.THIS. That’s one of my very favorite chapters by Shauna.

    Things I don’t do this year… hmm… lets see:

    1. My house isn’t always perfectly clean. It just isn’t. Let’s throw in the fact that my husband and I are like teenagers and only do our laundry when we’re seriously, SERIOUSLY out of the basics (like underwear.)

    2. I don’t have a menu planned for each week. Yes, I understand this is the smart, economical, healthy way to do it. But I just haven’t mastered it yet. Maybe I’ll save that one for later in 2015, or maybe I’ll never be good at it. Either way, we eat, we survive, I’m calling that a success.

    3. I don’t do yoga. I wish I did, I would love to be a yoga person. But at this point in my life, there’s no room. I’m golden if I can make it to our apartment treadmill and log a 20 minute walk. I’ve promised myself a shopping spree at Lululemon if I can get myself to do yoga, but soft lulu clothes might just be a pleasure reserved for 2016.

    That’s just the beginning….

    Love you friend!

    1. OF COURSE this was one of your favorite chapters! And I love your don’ts. WHO HAS TIME TO PLAN A MENU?! Maybe when we have kids it will be our sanity, but as a no-kid couple? No way. I like the spontaneity and the “whoops we have no food in the house. chipotle?!” nights. 😉

  2. I don’t wear or even understand high heels.
    I don’t really cook much. I do sometimes, but not much – but I DO clean behind the toilet!
    I don’t do the Pinterest thing either. Don’t get it.
    I don’t Tweet.
    I don’t really shop.

    This is fun!!

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