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In Persian we have this proverb which translated literally becomes:

To stretch one's leg more than one's rug

which means that you go beyond the circle of your authorities, or the circle of your capabilities. It simply indicates that you have some limitations, thus don't go beyond them. Like when you don't have enough money, but you want to start an expensive, costly business.

Do we have something similar in English?

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6 Answers

up vote 13 down vote accepted

Bite off more than one can chew

comes to mind

If you want to tell someone not to overreach, you can say

Don't bite off more than you can chew

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Don't let your reach exceed your grasp.

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I would say that is a quote rather than an idiom/proverb in daily use. But perhaps that is just me. The meaning is there. –  mplungjan Aug 1 '13 at 14:07
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For an idiom suggesting the same concept that's also related to legwork, there's also taking baby steps - that is, keep your legs on the rug!

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Big for his britches. Eyes bigger than his stomach.

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This answer does not appear to address the actual question. Certainly it gives no explanation as to why the author considers these terms appropriate - and IMHO they do not seem to be. –  TrevorD Aug 2 '13 at 19:14
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Over-extending oneself happens when we go beyond our limitations.

Over-reaching is when you over-step your boundaries or "circle of authorities".

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They are not proverbs or idioms, and there is no hyphen in overreach –  mplungjan Aug 1 '13 at 8:15
    
No they are not. But they work. –  moonstar2001 Aug 1 '13 at 8:17
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But not what was asked –  mplungjan Aug 1 '13 at 8:17
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  • Know your ability
  • Know your boundaries
  • Be realistic
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