zen habits : breathe

Leave Yourself Wanting More

By Leo Babauta

I think most of us have a tendency to do as much as we possibly can. But doing less might be better.

When we go to a great restaurant, we want to try all the dishes, eat as much of the delicious food as we can. And we leave overstuffed, sometimes painfully so, and our waistlines expand.

When I go for a run, often I’ll want to run as far or as hard as I can … and then I’m exhausted, and less likely to want to run tomorrow.

When we go on a trip to a new country, we want to see everything, do as much as possible, and that leaves us exhausted.

When we work or read online, we go from one task to the next, continuously, quitting only when we’re spent, well past what might be healthy for us.

How can we counter the tendency to want to do as much as possible?

Leave yourself wanting more.

The other day I went out for a run, and I really wanted to push myself to my limit. I let that desire go and did a moderate run, leaving some gas in the tank. The next day, I wanted to run some more, and I did. Today I’d be happy to go for another run, though maybe I’ll do something else instead. It’s sustainable and will make the habit last longer.

If you sit down for a meal, don’t try to eat as much as possible. Eat less. Leave the table wanting a little more. It won’t kill you. This is something I’m working on myself, but it takes practice. The result, though, is that you feel healthier and your waistline thanks you.

When you travel, don’t try to see everything. See a few things, and take your time. Leave the new city knowing that there’s more to see that you are leaving for next time. Leave yourself wanting more.

When you’re on the computer, shut it down before you’re done with everything. You’ll never be done with everything, and shutting down early means you’ve reserved some of your mental energy for other pursuits offline. You’ll be raring to go tomorrow. You won’t be as spent.

Let’s do less, and leave some in reserve. And enjoy the less that we do even more.


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