Do you always feel like you need to do more? Be more? Like your best is never good enough? There will always be a higher bar you can set for yourself, but when is enough enough? In this post, learn how to determine what enough looks like for each important area of your life and the clear signs that can tell you when enough is enough for YOU.
Most of us live every day feeling as if we’re not “enough” in some way. We unknowingly question our “enoughness” constantly-
Am I thin enough? Do I look young enough? Do I exercise enough?
Is my house big enough, is it new enough, or tidy enough?
Am I raising my kids to be kind enough? Do I spend enough time with them?
Do I work hard enough? Am I social enough, driven enough, present enough, patient enough?
I could go on and on, as I’m sure you could too.
You could drive yourself mad “grading your performance” in life, questioning whether anything you do is enough. Questioning whether you are enough, when the truth is that you don’t have to be or do more of anything to be enough.
Yes, there will always be a higher bar you can set for yourself (that’s called personal growth😉), but sometimes enough really is enough.
YOU get to ask the question – when is enough enough in life? AND you get to decide.
Read on to learn how to determine what enough looks like for each important area of your life and 15 signs that will tell you when enough really is enough.
How do we know when enough is enough?
Many of us equate “enoughness” with being able to manage our lives perfectly and handle the many aspects of our complex lives with equal grace and ease.
We compare ourselves to others who appear to be successful in life and often set standards that don’t align with who we are or what is actually important to us individually.
This leaves us feeling like we don’t measure up, we’re not good enough, or we’re simply not enough.
But it’s important not to judge what others have decided is enough for them and to assess what is enough for you. What works in your life is your decision to make.
15 Signs to Know When Enough is Enough for you
In order to decide what is enough, it’s helpful to look at certain key areas of life, including relationships, career, motherhood, health & wellness, and household management.
Within each, there are signs to look out for that can tell you when enough is enough for you. Keep in mind that it’s important to look at each of these areas separately because when one area is off-balance, it has a way of affecting the others.
By evaluating each of these important areas of your life, you will be able to better assess when enough is enough and set your own personal standards of “enough” that feel manageable and still leave some room for growth.
“Enough is a decision, not an amount.”-Alison Faulkner
When is enough enough in your relationships?
We give so much of ourselves to the loving relationships in our lives that sometimes it can be difficult to gain clarity on when it’s enough.
Whether we’re talking about a romantic relationship or those you have with family members, friends, or even work colleagues, there are some signs to look out for that can indicate that this area of your life is off-balance and you need to set new standards of “enough”.
1.) The relationship is the source of constant emotional stress
Relationships, whether romantic or not, are not always smooth sailing. Most of the time conflict will occur at some point in loving relationships with the people we’re close to.
It’s normal to have ups and downs, especially when it comes to our marriages, as relationship work is not easy. There may be times when physical intimacy is lacking, we don’t get enough attention or quality time with our spouse, or when the little things like having a bad day blow up into huge shouting matches.
But when a relationship is constantly the source of emotional stress, it may be time to reevaluate it and its place in your life.
Furthermore, there are obvious signs to look out for like physical abuse, verbal abuse, and emotional abuse. These are deal breakers that make for toxic relationships.
However in a healthy relationship, sometimes it can be hard to know when enough is enough. You may simply feel like you can’t recall the last time you had a good moment, the relationship is draining, or you’re always getting into disagreements due to different values.
Relationship problems like these contribute to the relationship being a constant cause of emotional stress in your life.
In this case, it’s important to consider how much of yourself you’re giving to the relationship and whether can you pull back. Do you have healthy boundaries in place and what can you do to improve them?
No relationship is worth a constant influx of emotional stress and if you are emotionally drained more often than not, that is when you know enough is enough and something has to change.
2.) You’re not respected in the relationship
In any type of relationship, whether it be with your best friend, your boss, a family member, and especially with your spouse or partner, there needs to be a level of respect.
One clear sign that you are not respected is if your boundaries are constantly being crossed. You are consistently expected to give of yourself and receive little in return.
Or perhaps you feel like your concerns are repeatedly being brushed aside or your feelings mocked, minimized, disregarded, or not taken into consideration at all.
It is also a red flag when there is any type of abuse in the relationship, as mentioned above. Someone who abuses you, physically, verbally, or emotionally, does not respect you and you should never tolerate an abusive relationship.
3.) The relationship makes you feel bad about yourself
It’s possible that a relationship you have with someone is making you feel bad about yourself. Maybe that person is constantly questioning or judging your life choices, pointing out your flaws, or poking fun at the things you value.
If spending time with a certain someone drains your energy or leaves you feeling less than, it’s a good sign that enough is enough in the relationship.
That doesn’t mean you have to completely cut ties, as this isn’t always possible, but it’s definitely worthwhile to examine and reevaluate your boundaries and the relationship as a whole.
What value is this relationship adding to your life and what changes are possible? You don’t want to continue giving to a relationship that is not serving you.
When is enough enough in your career?
Many of us equate success in life with career success and this often means excelling at work and making enough money to live comfortably throughout life, often at the expense of other things.
If you work blindly at building a successful career and neglect other aspects of yourself like your happiness, fulfillment, and self-worth, then you’ll likely come to resent your career and the toll it is taking on you.
You may even become an unhappy person in general that nobody wants to live with and that’s not healthy for you or your family. Having changed careers mid-life, I can certainly speak to this!
But work is often a means to an end as we all need a certain level of financial stability. Understandably, not everyone has the ability to walk away from their career or completely change course.
Taking that into consideration, how do you know when you are giving enough to your career and when might it be time to set new standards or make a change?
Like in relationships, there are certain signs that can help you decide.
1.) You’re just not in it
Perhaps you used to be really passionate about your career and now something has shifted inside of you and it no longer feels meaningful.
I can remember in my former career when new opportunities or projects would come along, many of my colleagues would be excited to work on them, whereas I usually found myself feeling apathetic.
Other than not wanting to let myself or others down due to my strong work ethic, I didn’t care much about the actual work and didn’t feel invested in the outcome of the project. I simply wasn’t engaged in what I was doing.
For the most part, this had always been the case for me in my former career, but you may be feeling a recent change of heart as it relates to yours.
Maybe you’re just not in it anymore? This is an indication that it’s worth exploring other opportunities if possible.
2.) You don’t feel valued
Has your workload been increasing at a much more rapid pace than your paycheck for a prolonged period of time? Maybe you feel as if you’re constantly picking up the slack for your coworkers with little or no recognition of your efforts?
Or perhaps you’ve been passed over for promotions or salary increases since becoming a mom even though you work even harder than you ever did?
It’s difficult to feel valued in your career if you’re dealing with any of these scenarios and when you don’t feel valued, it may be an indication that enough is enough and it’s time to speak up for yourself, make a change in how much you’re giving to your career, or reevaluate your situation altogether.
3.) Your goals don’t align
You might have certain career goals in mind, but find that lately your job is pulling you in a different direction.
Sometimes it is necessary to put work into a particular aspect of your career that may not be your favorite part or what you ultimately want to do, but after a certain amount of time and effort invested, it’s important to ask yourself – when is enough enough?
Is this the path you want to continue to follow or is it time to course correct or let it go?
If you feel that your goals ultimately do not align with your job responsibilities and the direction they’re taking you, it may be a sign that enough is enough in your current work situation.
When is enough enough in motherhood?
1.) You don’t feel happy
Do you ever feel like your life looks great on the outside, but you don’t feel happy in your day-to-day? One day blends into the next until you realize you’ve become so consumed with motherhood that you’ve completely forgotten about your own happiness.
Maybe you think in some way you are not supposed to be happy or that your kids’ happiness is the only thing that is important, but that’s not true. Your happiness matters.
If you’ve forgotten what makes you happy or have simply been the neglecting the things that bring you joy, it’s time to say enough is enough.
Knowing what makes you happy and finding ways to bring these elements into your every day is vital to you thriving as a mama, AND as a person.
2. You feel out of balance
As moms, we try to do it all and do it all perfectly – with equal grace, importance, and time dedicated to each part of our lives. This often leaves us feeling like we’re always spinning and there’s never enough time in the day.
Ultimately we feel out of balance, overwhelmed, and like we can’t get a handle on things. This is when you know enough is enough and it’s time to reassess your priorities and the impossible standards you’re holding yourself to.
3.) You’re always last on the list of priorities
Most of us have grown up believing that a “selfless” mother who always puts everyone else’s needs before her own is what makes a good mother. Society has told us that this is the ideal and it’s likely we also watched our own mothers try to meet this standard of selflessness.
Thus we learned to consistently put ourselves last and any time we honor our own needs first, it somehow feels like we’re falling short of being a good mom and the guilt sets in.
4.) You’re experiencing burnout
At some point, we’ve all felt like there is too much on our plates. Like we have too little time, resources, and support to do all we needs to do as moms.
It’s perfectly normal to be overwhelmed by motherhood at times. BUT, if feeling completely and utterly exhausted, like you’re at your breaking point with the weight of everything crashing down on you, has become your constant state, then it’s likely you’re experiencing mom burnout.
This is a tell-tale sign when enough is enough in motherhood and it’s time to get help to overcome your burnout.
When is enough enough in health & wellness?
Does all the talk of wellness and self-care sometimes make your head spin? We’re flooded with messages about how often we should exercise, what we should eat, the benefits of yoga and meditation, the importance of sleep, vitamins and supplements, and much much more.
These are all worthy causes and important aspects of our overall well-being, but sometimes it all just feels like too much. When is enough enough when it comes to your health and wellness?
1.) You’re using diet and/or exercise to “control” your body
Do you “force” yourself to exercise because you want to burn calories? Are you constantly limiting the type or amount of food you allow yourself to eat because you don’t want to gain weight?
For much of my life, I didn’t like the size and shape of my body and used to view diet and exercise as a way to control and morph it into how I thought it should look.
I was never able to consistently stick to an exercise routine and was always starting and stopping some diet or another. This resulted in a lot of unnecessary guilt when it came to my fitness and nutrition.
If you find you also use diet and exercise to try to control your body, it is a clear indicator when enough is enough in this area of your life.
Take steps to develop a healthier relationship with nutrition and fitness and learn to love your body and all it does for you.
2.) You’re always jumping on the latest “craze”
If you find that you’re always jumping on the latest craze when it comes to your nutrition, whether it be paleo, vegan, keto, or some other new diet trend that your IG feed suggests, it may be time to ask yourself when enough is enough. Find what feels right to you and stick with it.
The same holds true when it comes to fitness. If going to a hot yoga class fills you with a sense of dread or you find a HIIT workout to be excruciating, maybe those practices are not for you.
I firmly believe that bringing a sense of joy to your wellness routine is what is most important, as it helps you make a lasting commitment to what feels best for you and what works for your lifestyle.
When is enough enough in household management?
As women, we are natural caretakers and often shoulder the bigger load when it comes to household management, but the responsibilities of upkeeping your home can and should be shared with everyone who lives there.
Recognizing the signs when enough is enough and deciding to divvy up the workload will make life easier and less stressful for your whole family.
1.) You resent your husband and kids
Taking care of your family and home probably makes you feel good in certain ways. Maybe it even contributes to your sense of purpose and self-worth.
But if you set the expectation that you’re happy to bear the brunt of household chores, you may end up feeling like a servant in your own home!
After some time of feeling this way, it’s likely that you will start to resent your husband and kids for not doing more to share the load. Feelings of resentment towards your family are a sign that enough is enough and it’s time to get the rest of the household involved in the upkeep of your home.
There’s certainly enough to go around, right?
2.) You make excuses
Are you constantly making excuses for your family members or putting things back on yourself?
Do you tell yourself things like your husband is too busy to help more or the fact that you don’t earn an income means you should have to do everything around the house?
How about an excuse like your kids are too young to clean up after themselves? There are appropriate household chores for every age and it’s actually really beneficial to involve children from an early age.
If you are always making excuses for why your family can’t or won’t help more, then it’s time to say enough is enough and implement some new routines and systems in your household.
3.) You worry it won’t be done perfectly
If you’re anyting like me, you might be holding onto control of the household management for fear that if you let go, things won’t be done perfectly….or at least the way you like them to be done.
If you find that you won’t let your kids fold their own laundry because they won’t fold the clothes neatly enough or you refuse your husband’s offers to do the grocery shopping because he won’t buy the “right” brands, then maybe it’s about time you loosen the reigns a bit and tell yourself enough is enough.
You can’t keep doing it all for fear that things won’t be exactly how you want. At the end of the day, ‘done’ is far more important than ‘done perfectly’. Wouldn’t you agree?
When is enough enough for YOU? Ready to determine what is enough for you right now?
Based on the categories mentioned in this post or others that are important to you (4-5 max), jot down your “minimum requirements” for each, essentially determining what’s “enough” for you right now.
It’s important to establish what is enough right now, in this particular season, because sometimes we can do more and in other times we can only do the bare minimum. Respect the season you’re in and use your “enough list” to help you hone in on what really matters to you.
Once you get this down on paper, you will have the guideposts for your minimum requirements of enough and hopefully it will also help you feel that you are enough.
There will ALWAYS be MORE you can do, but sometimes enough is enough.
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Carly is a wife, mom, and former NYC fashion industry executive turned writer and life coach. Through her writings on littlevoicebigmatter.com, she shares practical advice, heartfelt insights, and actionable resources to inspire and support women in motherhood, relationships, wellness, and life. Carly also helps women create better balance in their lives and live with more joy, purpose, and connection every day through her coaching.