I Can Do Anything. Not Everything.

I Can Do Anything - Not Everything

This morning I blew off the gym.

Yes. It flies in the face of this advice.

Yes. It was an internal battle waged at 4:45am in the quiet dark.

Yes, I immediately felt guilty, even though I was the one to choose not to go.

But I desperately wanted to write. Hell, I needed to. Because since last weekend I have been in some kind of horrible, self-pitying, paralysed funk. And I don’t know why.

I hate my life,” I’d say to myself. “Surely, this can’t be it? Have I been reduced to a nappy-changing, argument-diffusing, laundry-folding husk of a woman? Really?

And I have sat around, frustrated tears falling down my face, and I’ve done nothing except work on an impressive butt-groove on the lounge.



This is just a guess, but I think I feel so wretched because I’ve once again discovered it is impossible to do everything. And that pisses me off.

But the cold, hard truth is – I can do anything. But not everything.

And this week, instead of embracing that fact and choosing what I do want to achieve, I’ve wallowed in self-pity and done nothing. Like some kind of silent, sobbing protest.

What an idiot. A perfect example of self-sabotage.

I had the self-sabotaging blues.

But I discovered that I was the one who could turn it around. I was the one who could choose to continue feeling terrible, or choose to feel better.


How I Beat the Self-Sabotaging Blues

By writing.

Writing is my outlet, my passion, my creative balm. If I don’t do it, I feel… jittery. I have things to share. Things I want to teach. Things I want to learn. And to do that, I write.

By doing something. Anything.

Yesterday afternoon I had enough. Enough wallowing. Enough frustration. So I did a five minute Clutter Bust and breathed an enormous sigh of relief. Unsurprisingly, I felt re-energised. So I did some gardening with the kids. Then I cooked dinner. And suddenly… look at me – I’m a fully functioning member of the human race once again!

By being kind to myself.

I am a rational person. I understand that I can’t do everything. I can’t possibly run a household, care for the kids, write 6 hours a day, be a great wife, cook gourmet meals, get to the gym 7 days a week, keep the house ‘Home Beautiful’ ready, be a good friend, get 7 hours sleep each night, be a good sister, organise daily outings, be perfectly groomed and stylishly dressed and always, always remain incredibly calm.

As much as I want all these things, I tell myself – truthfully – that I can not have them all. Not now. Not all at once. And I say to myself, “Self, that’s OK. In fact, that’s better than OK. That’s life and that’s awesome. Get used to it.”


How You Can Beat the Self-Sabotaging Blues.

By Finding Your Passion

What’s your passion? Your creative balm? Your outlet? Find it and make time for it.

You may need to get up a 4:30am, or stay up late. But if it’s a passion – you will find a way. And you will be rewarded.

By Doing Something. Anything.

I know that butt-groove is impressive – but get up and do something. Stop wallowing. Make the phonecall you’ve been putting off. Go for a walk. Do 10 star-jumps and then clean up the kitchen.

Doing something – achieving something – will motivate you. It’s a mind-game, yes, but it helps.

By Being Kind To Yourself.

Look at yourself in the mirror and say, “It’s OK. You can’t do everything. But that’s life and that’s awesome.”

Say to yourself what you would say to a friend if she came to you in tears, feeling the same way. You need to learn to be a good friend to yourself.


Do you have trouble accepting the fact you can’t do it all? Tell me I’m not the only one!


There’s no doubt life can be fast. Often too fast. Too much. Too stressful. Too overwhelming. On days like that we will tell ourselves there’s no time to slow down.
But there’s always time for a little slow, even on the busiest day. Join us for 365 Days of Slow and commit to a moment of slow, every day for a year. Learn more and sign up right here.


15 Responses to I Can Do Anything. Not Everything.

  1. Hey lady, I love your honesty.
    I to want it all and to be everything for everyone, it’s EXHAUSTING! By the end of the day after being so fricken fabulous all day long, I look at the pile of dishes in the sink, on the floors and throughout the house and feel like no one really gives a shit for everything I am doing for them. Some help would be appreciated, but I can’t expect my two and four year old to be scrubbing pots late into the evening. I have my weeks where I can pull it off and I love my life to pieces, then I have those days where it all comes crashing down and you’ll find me gasping for breath beneath my mountain of washing. Balancing a family and a life for yourself is bloody hard…. I love your fathers advice, it’s become a bit of a mantra for me. So even as I type and Isla is putting her fingers in my mouth and ears whilst shaking her bare bum in my face, I wouldn’
    t have it any other way, HOLY SHIT I think I may have found my passion, I freakin love being a mummy ( a disorganised, mental case of a mother) I have searched high and low for my passion and blow me down I think writing this has helped me realise I, at times can do it all and at times I’d rather be somewhere else……. and that’s O.K!!!! Have I told you I love you Brooke. Cheers lady….. Please don’t ever stop writing you are a life line to me, a beautiful breath of fresh air in this crazy life of of mine xx

    • Tam, I love YOUR honesty. It’s comments like yours that rock my world. That’s an incredible passion you’ve discovered – and I have no doubt that you are rocking it at each and every turn. Thank you. xx

  2. I’m right there with you. I keep having to lower my expectations because I still think I can do more than I can. And it’s SO frustrating – both lowering my expectations AGAIN and not being able to get done what I want to. I keep thinking of myself as a full-time homemaker – but I’m not. I have a blog I post to daily. I spend time with my grandkids at least 2 days a week. I do the books for my husband’s business. No – I’m not a full-time homemaker even though I don’t have a job outside the home.

    But I really, really want to be able to do more! It seems like I should be able to.

    Good article with very practical suggestions.

    • Thanks so much, Patty. Even though you and I are at different stages in life, I love that I’m able to relate and to learn from you. It’s incredible, as Rita said, how we expect milestone A or milestone B to make life easier for us. But the reality is that it’s busy and difficult and there’s not enough time – regardless of where we’re at.

      PS. I think what you’re doing is amazing!! x

  3. I’ve found that I need to not only lower expectations for myself, but for my kids, too. It isn’t reasonable to expect my not-yet-2-yr-old twins to play for an hour without attention from me while I scrub the kitchen floors. Fitting it all in and balancing what truly needs to be done right now with what can wait is difficult. And when it gets overwhelming it’s important to just do something. Getting started is often the hardest part of any task.

    That was a long, round about, brain dump of a way to say, Thank your for this post today.

    • That is such an important point, Rachel. One that I need to remind myself of constantly. Our kids are only 3 and 1 and it’s so hard for me not to expect too much of them. Thank you for the reminder today! x

  4. Oh my God YES have I ever been here, muttering to myself (while I do endless piles of dishes or laundry) about how I hate my inadequate self and my life that is so different from the one I had planned, then mentally flaying myself for being so ungrateful. I end up wrapping myself in guilt so tightly that I can barely breathe, and it usually takes me days to get back on an even keel.

    We have been socialized to pile all this pressure on ourselves, to expect that we will simultaneously have fulfilling, meaningful careers, and healthy bodies with tiny waists, and homes so perfect and clean that our bouncing babies can eat the gourmet meals we have cooked for them off of the shining floors instead of the designer furniture – not that they would because they behave so beautifully. Of course that’s a ridiculous fantasy, and anyone who says otherwise is trying to sell us something. Reality is a lot messier.

    As writers and creators we live inside our own heads a lot, and the gift of thinking deeply about things is also the curse of overthinking and feeling everything. THANK YOU for this honest reminder that none of us are alone in feeling like this sometimes, and that the ways we can get through it start as small and simple actions. Love and light to you!

    • Deborah – I love every single thing you’ve said. It’s like you have a direct line to my brain!!

      How do we break this cycle of measuring up to an imaginary ideal? I don’t know, but I feel like the answer begins with being honest and open about our struggles and feelings. Aside from that – I’m stumped.

      Like I said on Twitter the other day – thank YOU so much for your encouragement and support – it’s incredible. Truly. xx

  5. You’re not the only one. For me, this struggle has been the one constant throughout my entire adult life. (And since I’m in my late 40s, that’s been awhile now.) I thought it would get better when my kids got older. Nope. I thought it would get better when I got a different job. Nope. I thought it would get better when I got divorced, and then again when I joined forces with a new partner. Nope and nope.

    I recently realized (again) that I can’t do all that I want to do and decided (painfullly) that blogging is the thing that will have to give right now. However, I have learned the truth of your words about our passions, and I know I shouldn’t (can’t, won’t) give it up entirely. I just need to modify how I’ve been doing it. Perhaps it’s not that we can’t have it all right now, but that we can’t have as much of it as we want right now.

    Thanks for writing this post. Helpful to me.

    • Rita, you’ve so perfectly summed up the constant battle so many of us face – once x happens, it will be easier. Once I have achieved y, I’ll be content.

      It’s such a hard lesson to learn – one that I am trying to force myself to take on board. I read your post from last week and took a lot of solace and inspiration from it. Well done!

      I’m taking a similar approach here – cutting back on the posting schedule while I work on another project. And while that is simply swapping one thing for another, I feel like it’s an important step for me to take. It’s not possible to keep adding without subtracting.

      Thanks, as always, for your thoughtful comments. And good luck in finding your feet over the coming days. x

  6. Thank you Brooke for writing so honestly and openly, you have brought a smile to my face as I am sitting here trying to work out how to juggle all of the things ( of which you have described above) and trying to work out where and how to make a start designing and writing on my Blog/Website, of which I have only just opened the first page, but I guess thats a start right!

    I find that its so easy to forget your passions or at least put them on the back burner, especially when there is a family of which very small people are in need of your attention 24/7.

    Truth be know though, neglecting those passions only makes me feel more edgy and less attentive because Its always on the back of my mind.

    I think you have rung true by reminding us that just by doing something, anything will help to psychologically give some relief that there has been a step forward in progressing with ones passions.

    Thank you.

    • Raquel, congratulations on starting your blog! (I tried to take a look, but the link in your profile doesn’t seem to be working)

      I hear you RE pursuing your passions – I put mine on the backburner for too long and it did me no good at all. But it is incredibly hard, particularly with young children – I know exactly where you’re coming from. Stick with it – you’ll find a way to make it work in time.

      And let me know more about your blog – I’d love to see what you’re up to. x

  7. Stumbled upon your site from becomingminimalist and I’m SO happy I did! Have read a few posts already and this one really stands out to me! I’m so guilty of having awful ‘self-talk’ instead of pumping myself up. I’m getting so much better at NOT doing it and my whole mantra is now ‘simplifying life, maximizing happiness’. :D So glad I found you in the blogosphere. :D

    Lauren Jade
    Lauren Jade Lately
    ‘Simplifying Life, Maximizing Happiness’

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