When you know better, do better—a caveat

Time, energy, and money are all limited.

It’s possible to know better and not be able to do better.

I’ve talked to a solid handful of people who are wanting to replace their plasticware with glass or stainless steel, but they don’t have room in the budget for that immediately. Or their kids have only ever handled plastic, so they’re not prepared to handle glass. Or they buy one piece every month or so and are slowly accumulating it.

I’ve talked to many people who are just overwhelmed with life and don’t have the mental space to make changes. (The majority of these are women with children who are working for pay full time and are in charge of keeping track of everything at home—whether their spouses contribute to the housework and child care or not—and their brains are completely maxed out. Attempting to implement and of these habits is just One More Thing.)

With regards to how you treat people and how you view the world, you can absolutely do better as soon as you know better.

With regards to anything that requires tools or planning, it might take longer.

For example: I make my own deodorant. Have for years. The empty container is not always timed in a convenient way. But in real life, I don’t even need to look up the recipe any more, I have the ingredients on hand, and with clean up, it takes maybe 10 minutes. Even in a state of life overwhelm, I can get it done.

Continuing with that example, if I was someone who was interested in making deodorant but had never done it, I’d need to decide to actually it (you know the “I just can’t” feeling?), then look it up (possibly with more info as to why, which is also more input to a full brain), then assemble the ingredients (possibly including a trip to the store), make it, and clean up. That’s a substantially bigger project.

It applies to many things in most (all?) aspects of life. For some, you can break it down into even smaller pieces. “Dessert only out of the house” instead of “I’m changing my whole diet” or “Grab baking soda out of the kitchen to try on the bathroom sink” instead of “Need to replace all of my household cleaners.”

It’s a weird line, finding the balance between making excuses and being grounded in your current reality.

(I was lucky to get into much of this before The Kid came along.)

So if you’re in a position right now of wanting to do All The Things and not doing them is adding guilt and stress to your life, let go of All The Things. Make a plan to get your house in order (metaphorical or literal—different for different people), and then pick one of The Things and go with it. Or maybe one of them will flow once you start working on whatever is causing the overwhelm. But if you can’t do it right now, adding that to your burden isn’t going to help you dig yourself out.

Hold yourself accountable … and give yourself grace.

Leave a Comment