“He who is of calm and happy nature will hardly feel the pressure of age, but to him who is of an opposite disposition youth and age are equally a burden.” ~Plato

When it comes to evolving and becoming the person we really want to be, many of us put a lot of pressure on ourselves to push forward and make things happen quickly. But without realizing it, many of us actually turn out to be our own greatest enemy. We feel like we’ve spent so much time in toxic relationships and feeling miserable that we need to hurry up and get our lives in order.

While it’s normal to want to succeed at finally being happy (and fast), it’s very easy to put a great deal of pressure on ourselves to get to what we feel is the pinnacle of achievement. But there’s a fine line between driving yourself to reach a goal and driving yourself crazy. There comes a time to back off. Knowing when that is, and how to go about doing it will keep you from the kind of breakdown that comes from too much pressure.

6 Ways to Stop Putting Pressure on Yourself

1. Ask yourself what heights you were trying to attain. Are you looking to achieve great things, or to be perfect? The problem with perfectionism is that it wears you down. You’re never going to reach the levels that you’re trying to attain, and the act of constantly trying to only serves to leave you frustrated and angry at yourself. Learn to let things go. Know what mark you’re trying to reach, and be content with that.

2. Driving yourself is only going to drive you crazy. Being a hard worker is a good thing. We all should strive to have a strong work ethic. But throwing yourself into the type-A world of extreme performance is too much of a good thing. If your life is exhausting you, it might be time to let go of some of your goals, so that you can put your energy into what’s most important.

3. You might need to re-evaluate your life completely. Being well-rounded doesn’t necessarily mean jumping in 87 different directions. A life that’s too fractured over too many diverse interests means you’re never going to succeed in anything. Choose your focus. Not that you can’t enjoy your other interests, but you might need to delegate some of them to the back seat for a while.

4. Decide to be a realist. Being too optimistic and thinking you can do it all only sets yourself up for failure. Before accepting a new project, ask yourself whether or not you truly think you can get it done in the timeline needed. Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ when you need to.

5. Accept the occasional emotional overload and let it flow, when you can. It’s ok to cry if you need to. Or scream or feel any emotion you’re experiencing at the moment. It’s when you allow those emotions to run your life that you put the pressure on. So feel what you need to – and then move on.

6. Realize you’re not perfect (and that no one else is, either). Having weak spots is normal. Focus on your strengths, then let go of the rest.

While pushing yourself is fine, pressuring yourself is not. Hopefully, these strategies will help you not only to see the difference but address it as well. That way you can balance your life so that you’re not only productive but happy. After all, isn’t that the final goal you were after in the first place?