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Dear Cassey,

First of all, I wanted to compliment and thank you for everything you do. You motivate so many people including myself and show me what I can do to live a better life – I really love your videos.

But this is actually already where my problems begin. I feel like I never do enough. When I only work out for 10 minutes because I don’t feel good, I ask myself why I didn’t do 30 minutes. When I worked out for 30 minutes, I ask myself why I didn’t do 45 minutes. I think you can already see where this is going. When I ate mostly healthy for a week, I ask myself why I didn’t eat completely healthy. When I did work for my university for four hours, I ask myself why I didn’t do five.

As you can probably see, it is a problem that I have in all aspects of my life. So here is my question: how can I be proud of myself and see that I don’t need to be the perfect Wonder Woman to be happy?

Thanks for your answer!

Never Enough

matches showing burnout not doing enough working hard

Dear Never Enough,

Oh my gosh. I know this feeling all too well. Having the drive to push yourself is amazing, but then comes that nagging feeling of “but could I be doing more?” I seriously deal with this all the time. But you know what I realized? Pushing myself to the limit RARELY makes me feel more successful. It only makes me exhausted and it’s honestly just a recipe for burnout.

Here are some things that help me pull back a bit when I’m being too hard on myself! Hopefully, they can help you too :)

Reflect on why you’re not feeling satisfied.

Try to put your finger on what is really bothering you about your goals. When you only do a short workout, are you really frustrated because you didn’t work out long enough, or is it because earlier in the day you spent too much time scrolling on your phone or watching TV? When you only eat “healthy” most days, are you really just wishing your diet was more consistent? Are there some other projects or stressful situations on your shoulders that you’ve been avoiding?

Then, zoom out and change your perspective.

For some reason, it feels awkward to pat ourselves on the back for little things. We’re told to aim higher, set big goals, to push harder. But with that mindset of always doing the biggest and the best, we’re NEVER going to feel satisfied, right?! “More” isn’t always better.

So here’s what I’m saying – it doesn’t have to be about how many minutes you work out. Did you work out at all? THAT’S GREAT. Who cares if you had pizza one night this week. Were you mindful about most of your meals, and did you enjoy that pizza? That’s actually ideal if you ask me. Sure you only worked 4 hours, but did you get everything done that day/week?

Just like everything in life, we have to CHOOSE to see the positive. And it takes practice!

If you truly don’t like something, change it.

As they say, you’re not a tree. You’re not stuck! If you really want to change something, do it! Back to your workouts – what if it’s not really about how much time you spent working out? Maybe it’s time to change the type of workout you’re doing. If you’re not enjoying your workout, or if it’s not challenging you enough, trying something fresh might help.

For example, when I was doing bikini competitions, I felt like I was never working hard enough. I felt like I could always do better. But then I realized that I just didn’t like how training for competitions made me feel. So I pivoted into something new and felt a lot better.

Rethink how you track your productivity.

I like to start each day with a to-do list. Even if I have an idea of what I’d like to accomplish in my head, there is just something about having it written down that motivates me. AND it’s sooo satisfying to check things off throughout the day as I get them done. I can physically SEE how productive I’ve been, and I’m less likely to have that anxious feeling of not doing enough. Don’t overwhelm yourself with a list you know will stress you out! Be realistic.

Seeing everything crossed off your list will feel AMAZING.

Avoid comparing yourself to others.

I’ve also realized that I feel more anxious about how hard I’m working when I compare myself to others. Having everyone’s lives so accessible online makes this even harder for me. Social media just creates so much noise and pressure to do more, aim higher, and show it off like everyone else. Constantly scrolling through everyone else’s “perfect” snapshots of their achievements urges me to keep up. And guess what?

IT’S NOT POSSIBLE.

Because life online is just that – a snapshot. It’s great to follow people for inspiration, but it’s also important to step back and realize that what you see doesn’t paint the whole picture. There’s more to the story for people who seem to be pushing at 100% all the time. None of us have it all figured out!

Don’t be hard on yourself, and remember that you’re your own worst critic!  

I promise that you’re doing more than you give yourself credit for. Be kind to yourself. I’m pretty sure all of us “could” do more in just about every aspect in life. But would that be healthy? Nope. It would probably drive us all crazy. So next time you find yourself obsessing over not doing enough, shift your focus to what you HAVE done.

You got this!

PS – If you have a burning question you want to ask me, I’m taking questions via text at 510-692-4556. Currently this only works for US and Canada. If you’re outside of those countries, you can leave a question below.

The Conversation (23)

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  • Georgina Schwan says:

    Hi,

    I just wanted to write to you to say thank you.

    This year my husband left me, I lost the house that I have been saving my whole life for (I’m 38 years old) and I have been battling breast cancer with only my 80 year old mum and myself – going through chemo – trying to raise my 1 year old son together.

    I felt so weak, both mentally and physically, then a friend of mine showed me your videos. They are short, positive, fun and motivated me to start exercising.

    It was hard at first, I was more tired than not, but now I feel like I’m stronger and fitter and thanks to your short and sweet videos I have enough energy to look after my boy again.

    I’m sure that you make a huge difference to many people’s lives, not just my own. Thank you for all your hard work and for being you.

    Warm regards,

    Georgina and toddler James

    • blogilates says:

      I am so heartbroken to hear about your incredibly hard year but I am so inspired by your motivation for movement and absolute resilience!!! Sending you and your son the biggest hugs!!

  • Xi says:

    This is seriously some
    Of the best advice I’ve read on this topic thanks Cassey

  • Shelecia says:

    Such an awesome,necessary, and timeless blog! Thanks so much for sharing Cassey! :-)

  • gabe says:

    thanks for the post cassey! I’ve been consistenly eating healthy and moderately and also excersicing for a month but I had to stop all of that bc i got corona. I was stressed because i could see my tummy getting rounder and my body is hust aching to move but my lungs are giving up on me so i can’t really move much. But after reading this, i thought maybe its okay to have a little break. Maybe stressing about it will just make this virus beat me! ill enjoy my rest now, so thank you cassey for the insight!

  • Esmy says:

    I’m glad I came across this post when I did. It’s been hard getting back into my regular workout routine after Thanksgiving. The day I decided to get back into it I had a terrible day at work and I wanted to do nothing but relax and eat lol. I was starting to berate myself for choosing to relax instead of working out but after reading this I’ll try to change my perspective. I got through the day and that’s good, I’ll pick up where I left off tomorrow. Thanks for this reminder :)

  • Heather Breazzeal says:

    I love this! I need to hear this! I am a group fitness instructor in my 40s, former smoker, former lazy person, who just got diagnosed with MS…I am terrified of what the future holds for me. I’m determined to stay true to “use it or lose it”. Even on my rest days, I’m on Elliptical for at least an hour. The rest of those rest days, I’m terrified of what comes next if I stop moving. That tells you what I do on my active days….Let’s just say that most of those active days, I’ve got very sore muscles by bedtime.

  • Tina says:

    I recently read that perfectionism is the highest form of self-abuse. And yes, it’s really hard when we compare ourselves to other people on a daily basis. But with self-love and loving the journey we can change our mindset a bit.

  • MSJ says:

    I really relate to this a lot. Some days I feel like I could do anything and everything and create an impossible to-do list and when I can’t check off everything, I feel so disappointed with myself and I would just feel like I’ve failed, and what’s the point?

    Sometimes really doing less is better. I’m still finding my balance to achieve a more positive mindset & life~

  • angela_winter says:

    Dear Cassey, I cannot thank you enough for being so honest and open with all aspects of your journey. Seeing the “perfect” trainers online did not motivate me at all, I felt really insufficient. I love how you treat yourself and your body as something precious and also show that this journey is not easy but worth it. I am suffering from bullimia and anorexia and you helped me so much to love myself and my body. Only then could I get healthy and I lost 46 kilos with your help in the last 3 years. Thank you so much for everything and I hope you do not suffer so much from negative comments because for me you are a great sorce of motivation.

  • Holly says:

    Voltaire said it best, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” Goals are positive to keep us on track. Unrealistic goals just give us anxiety. If your are honestly doing YOUR best don’t compare this with someone else’s best.

  • SY says:

    You just helped me so much with this, not only in terms of working out but also in so many other aspects of life, thank you for everything and love you <3

  • Olivia says:

    I wonder whats your workout routine after 90 days jpurnal i really want to gain muscle but i become a bit bulky :(

  • Emily says:

    Especially in 2020 after what we’ve all been through this year – “We’re doing amazing sweetie!” 😆 Xx

  • Mackenzie Kiger Davison says:

    Dear Cassey and Reader – thank you for this prompt! I often struggle with not feeling like I am doing enough but I really think Cassey is right about this. You know when you are doing the best you can and you should be proud of yourself in those moments. We are all just doing the best that we can. You got this!

  • Marcelina says:

    Hey Cassey! Thank you so much for this post! I often find the situation described by Never Enough pretty relatable. Lately I’ve been trying to work out more and eat healthier, but I also realized that instead of giving myself credit for what I have done this one particular day and being thankful and proud of my goals, I super quickly move to the next day and start planning another workouts, diet etc. Ofc, it’s good to be organized, but as you said shifting perspective and looking at your accomplishments with pride and the feeling of succes it’s SOOOO IMPORTANT. You can’t live in a constant rush and competition that only stresses you out and makes you feel all this pressure. That’s why now I write down everything I’ve done in a day including activity, food, things that help my mental health to actually see how much I’m doing throughout my week and feel proud about that. If I went for a run – great! If I managed to not eat sweets all day – amazing! If I took a day off and instead of workout I went for a walk or did some yoga – that’s cool! I am my own critic and I am not going to underestimate my little everyday winnings :)

  • So relevant, even though I’m graduated! Thank you.

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