Do Your Best and NOTHING More

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remember last week when i wrote about being in my own way and stopping myself from moving forward? the days that have followed after have been better.

after my husband returned home from a business trip a week ago, he said “hey…i found a book on our bookshelf called “the four agreements” (by don miguel ruiz) and i think you should read it. it’s amazing!”

i was like “duuuh it’s amazing, it’s my book and that’s why it’s on the bookshelf!”

then he asked me if i remembered any of the four agreements and i could only list ‘don’t take things personally.’ obviously, it was time for a re-read since i hadn’t picked it up since i was in college like 6 years ago. i think that’s also the last time i’ve had a jello shot so maybe i should change that too?

it’s a short but powerful read. i won’t get into it all now (but no promises for the future) but the last agreement really struck me:

“always do your best.”

do your best quote

miguel ruiz, goes on to talk about how we can never feel shame or guilt or disappoint with ourselves when we promise to do our best because it takes away judging ourselves. what really struck me is that our “best” can change from day to day and that’s okay too, as long as we are doing our best in that moment.

“…keep in mind that your best is never going to be the same from one moment to the next. everything is alive and changing all the time, so your best will sometimes be high quality and other times it will not be as good.”

“…as you build the habit of the four new agreements, your best will become better than it used to be.”

of course if you’re sick and have been up half the night and you try to workout, your “best” is going to look very different than if you had a full nights sleep and felt healthy. do your best in that moment and then you can’t judge yourself.

do your best quote smell flowers

“if you try too hard to do more than your best, you will spend more energy than is needed and in the end your best will not be enough. but if you do less than your best, you subject yourself to frustrations, self-judgment, guilt and regrets.”

this shifted something inside of me because i do spend a lot of time feeling guilty about not getting more done in a day or not having innate design ability for my photos. it’s so true that comparison is the thief of joy so i need to remember to focus on doing my best.

the last part of the book talks about removing your old and unhealthy agreements with choosing these four new agreements. i love this quote:

let’s pause for a minute and remember to do our best in this exact moment in time. that’s all we really need to do.

*this book is speaking to me deeply and i want to send one to a marvelous reader (out of my very own pocketbook). simply leave a comment below about how you’re doing your best today and i’ll randomly select a winner to receive a copy on 3/7/15.

**update: the randomly selected winner was ashley s! coming at you, lady!


  1. Ashley @ Saving Money in your Twenties

    March 4, 2015 at 6:59 am

    HAHA yes I think you need to have a jello shot soon because 6 years is too long. It’s probably been about 2-3 for me? hmmm can’t quite remember. ANYWAY this book sounds interesting and I am going to put it on hold from the library ASAP! (so don’t count me in for the giveaway 🙂 ) I think ‘doing your best’ is really important because it does change from day to day! I struggle with this because I often make unrealistic to-do lists and then end up feeling guilty for not accomplishing it all, even though other stuff popped up and I really did try my hardest. For me I think it’s all about being honest with myself and admitting when i’m slacking off vs really trying my best!
    Ashley @ Saving Money in your Twenties recently posted…I have a stash of dessert-ingredients in my house. Do you?

    • chelsea

      March 4, 2015 at 1:38 pm

      haha you are beating me for jello shots, ashley! so glad you put it on hold at the library because it’s SO good and zippy ready but i took my time so it would sink in.

      oh my goodness, tell me about unrealistic to-do lists! i am the queen of filling them with 87 things and then feel like crap when i get to 3 of them and everything is left. i was telling my husband this and said to pick my top 3 important things for that day and only put those on. i’ve done that the past few days and it’s much better!

  2. Dawn Dunsmore

    March 4, 2015 at 7:09 am

    I recently read about the Prosperity Game in Money and the Law of Attraction by Abraham/Esther Hicks. I liked it so much I tried it. I found it amazing that by day 8, I was finding myself confronting “I don’t deserve this much” feelings even with imaginary money. I am hosting a group Prosperity Game starting in April. Hopefully, I can give myself permission to be more during this attempt.

    • chelsea

      March 4, 2015 at 1:39 pm

      oh i haven’t read those books yet, dawn! thank you for recommending them because i’m going to check them out. congrats for hosting a ‘prosperity game’ in april and i bet you will do fantastic (and you very best) 🙂

  3. This post was motivational. I have been feeling guilty and judging myself lately for not getting enough done. I am always blaming the tv or something dumb like that. I haven’t been feeling well and you make a great point about in the moment do the best you can. I need to take this to heart and remember it! I know, I am doing my very best, yes I slack on getting stuff finished or done because of school or life in general, but today I am going to make a change. I want to smile for all I have accomplished when I go to bed tonight. I will tell myself “I have done the best I could in the situation I have been in.” Thank you for sharing this and I hope I get picked. I love a good motivational book!
    Ashley Servis @ Keeping Up With Ashley and Cody recently posted…Provocative and Intense, but so Much More

    • chelsea

      March 4, 2015 at 1:42 pm

      i’m so happy to hear that you found some motivation in this post, ashley! i really felt moved after i read the book and needed to remember to be kinder to myself and that i can only strive to do my very best in that moment.

      my heart is beaming for yours that you are making a change today to smile for what has been accomplished on this day while doing your best! you got this 🙂

  4. Charles Mencke

    March 4, 2015 at 7:38 am

    Wonderful, thanks for the pointer to the book. I ordered it for my Kindle and it looks definitely to be a must read!

    • chelsea

      March 4, 2015 at 1:43 pm

      absolutely, charles! let me know what you think about it. it’s been a great book that i plan on reading again and again until i can fully integrate these 4 new agreements! hope you are well 🙂

  5. Amanda Wood

    March 4, 2015 at 8:30 am

    You (and Don) are so right. Your best changes day to day depending on health and circumstances. We can’t get upset with ourselves for not performing as well as normal with unusual events outside our control going on or when we are sick. Thank you so much for sharing this!
    Amanda Wood recently posted…Easy Crockpot Chili Recipe

    • chelsea

      March 4, 2015 at 1:46 pm

      it seems so simple, doesn’t it amanda?! but for some reason…it can be hard to believe that fully and just do our best in that moment! i especially like how you summed it up 🙂

  6. Paula Howley

    March 4, 2015 at 9:36 am

    No pressure:
    My parents are coming for a week today- haven’t seen them in 3 years, I’m not feeling particularly well and I want my daughter to behave but I don’t want to put pressure on HER either.
    so, my best is going to have to look like living moment to moment for the next week and enjoying my dwindling time with my folks.
    Paula Howley recently posted…Head Start Public Speaking For Kids Week 16- Public Presentations For Kids!

    • chelsea

      March 4, 2015 at 1:47 pm

      wow this will be a big week it sounds like paula! glad you are taking the pressure off from yourself and being conscious not to put it on your daughter either-that’s huge! i hope you have a good time living in the present moment to enjoy time with your parents 🙂 your real and honest responses are always appreciated and insightful-thank you for being YOU, paula.

  7. Audrey

    March 4, 2015 at 10:15 am

    This book is sitting on my bookshelf, too, but I’ve never actually read it. Looks like I’ll be dusting it off and cracking it open! I’m a perfectionist but I very rarely feel like I’m doing my best. Is that weird? I will definitely be snuggling in with some tea & this book tonight!
    Audrey recently posted…The Engagement Story

    • chelsea

      March 4, 2015 at 1:49 pm

      yessss! crack this book open tonight with some tea for sure! the first few pages were interesting to get into (there is talk of light/dark magic so basically harry potter) but keep going because it gets insanely powerful!

      i’ve struggled with wanting to be a perfectionist too and i’ve had to let go of the idea that ‘perfect’ exists in any realm of my being or the world. that seems to be helping me feel more satisfied with ‘my best’ and my reality. hope that helps you too 🙂 let me know what you think about the book!

  8. Emma Lincoln

    March 4, 2015 at 10:59 am

    Never heard of this book, but now I’m adding it to my 2015 books list!
    Also, if you want a killer jello shot, try Aalto Lounge on Belmont during their 5-7 happy hour every night 🙂 They do full “cocktail” jello shots so I’ve had a moscow mule one and also an old fashioned.
    Emma Lincoln recently posted…4 Things I Learned about Travel Hacking

    • chelsea

      March 4, 2015 at 1:54 pm

      glad you’re adding it to your reading list, emma! it’s GOOD and helps with a lot of what we’ve talked about. i’m working on rewriting some internal ‘agreements’ i have with anxiety!

      thanks for the recommendation on jello shots-a full cocktail jello shot of moscow mule?!?! i’m totally in. doing this sooner than later!

  9. jennifermckennasays

    March 4, 2015 at 11:13 am

    I so neededto read this today!!

    “your best looks different”

    I also have that book and need to reread!

    Thank you!

    • chelsea

      March 4, 2015 at 1:55 pm

      i am already looking forward to rereading it too, jennifer! it’s so powerful (but honestly much harder to truly live) so that’s my next step! i know your best is right where it should be for today 🙂

  10. Nina

    March 4, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    I needed to hear this today!

    With graduation quickly approaching, the job search is a little stressful and hearing my mom remind me that I don’t have a job yet makes me feel like I’m going to have an anxiety attack. I’ve had a full weekend that spilled over into my week, so I feel like I’ve been in a whirlwind. Today I am grumping and not wanting to go to the two different long meetings I’ll have, but I am going to ignore the stabbing period cramps and look forward to the Starbucks I’ll get at the first meeting, and do my best to be kind and not take offense to crass behavior I may stumble upon later in my day.

    Also your hair is gorgeous.
    Nina recently posted…Homecoming Queen Reject

    • chelsea

      March 4, 2015 at 2:18 pm

      don’t parents come up with interesting ways to be “helpful” nina?! i remember that being said to me after graduation and i wanted to say “gee…that’s a great idea. i should really consider that” in a sarcastic tone. sounds like you’ve got a lot going on so i’m glad that you will be doing your best to be kind today! that’s fantastic.

      i hope your cramps get better and it’s amazing how having a delicious coffee on the horizon can life our spirits 🙂

      ps..some days the curls cooperate and other days they want to dance freely in all directions but thank you!

  11. Lindsay @ The Newlywed Notebook

    March 4, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    I LOVE that. “Do your best, no more no less.” I’m SUCH a crazy perfectionist that I run myself ragged and make myself sick trying to do it all. Which is so funny to me because I know I would be so much more productive if I would just do my best, and leave it all at that. May have to add this one to the list, thanks for the recommendation and the great reminder!
    Lindsay @ The Newlywed Notebook recently posted…Quality or Quantity, Which Do You Choose?

    • chelsea

      March 5, 2015 at 1:26 pm

      i totally know that feeling lindsay! i’ve hard to start moving away from the idea of being ‘perfect’ in any way, shape, or form because i would often end up paralyzed. i think this book will really help with solidifying why it’s so important to stick to our best and no more or less 🙂

  12. Joe

    March 4, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    I’m sitting in a hospital room in the dar, while my wife and infant son sleep. The baby is restless and my wife has not slept in three days. I’m trying to keep the baby from screaming, so she can sleep. It’s kinda working. There’s a lot of stuff I need to do right now (fix a broken toilet, pay some bills, write a speech contest speech), but right now, in the moment, the best I can do is rock softly from side to side, singing ,”Goodnight sweet baby” by Ben Folds, praying we’re both quiet enough for just a little longer.

    • chelsea

      March 5, 2015 at 1:28 pm

      congratulations on your new baby, joe!!! you are a good man for letting your wife get some sleep and singing sweet, rock versions of lullabies! sounds like your best was exactly as it should be.

  13. Melissa C

    March 6, 2015 at 7:03 am

    LOVE this!! Today I’m going to do my best NOT to use foul language in front of Ainsley because I learned she copies that now. OOPS. I will also do my best to workout and even if I don’t eat right I won’t beat myself up. I will also to my best to not get upset when Josh has to work late. Thanks for the reminder! 🙂
    Melissa C recently posted…Faves for Friday

    • chelsea

      March 6, 2015 at 11:33 am

      haha oh ainsley you quick learner! that’s one of the reason i’m afraid to have kids because i happen to have a potty mouth 🙂 sounds like your best is on point for being kinder to yourself and your husband-that’s great 🙂

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