To-Do Lists or To-Know Lists

With gratitude to my friend and colleague Deborah Grayson Riegel for the above quote arriving in my feed on a Monday morning…

We can easily confuse knowing something for doing it.

Exercise. Meditation. Letting go of unnecessary tasks. Staying connected with people important to us. Being kind to ourselves. Pivoting…

The list is familiar. But we’re at the point in the pandemic where it likely incites some eye rolling, right? (Oh yes…eye yoga…add that to the list). As a colleague said to me recently, “I know all the things. They aren’t helping.”

Personal responses are rarely sufficient to dismantle systemic problems. As burnout expert Jennifer Moss writes, “One big problem of the pandemic is that we simply haven’t realized — much less acknowledged — how hard circumstances are. And we’ve been applying Band-Aid solutions to a gaping wound in the form of yoga programs, wellness technology, and meditation apps.” (Harvard Business Review)

Yet I was stopped short recently by the realization that knowing we should do something is not the same as doing it. And we can’t expect to reap the benefits of doing just by knowing.

It’s likely true that wellness habits may not be enough to fortify our lagging stamina right now. But knowing they are helpful doesn’t make them helpful in the absence of actually practicing them.

Not trying to add to your guilt or pressure today. Simply acknowledging that I need to get out of my head and onto my yoga mat, and maybe you’ll join me there.

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