Hands up if you don’t think you have the time to invest in yourself?
Well you’re wrong and in truth if you don’t think you have time to invest in learning, health or fun then you are doing a horrible job of managing your life and you need to fire that lousy you and hire a more competent you to take over. If you are not opening yourself up to new possibilities because you think you don’t have time then you are never going to have anything more than you have now.
When undertaking anything new, whether it’s a new business, job or weight-loss program, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. How many times have you said ‘I’ll never get that’ only to look back a year later and say ‘how did I ever get by without that?’ We know that with some patience, commitment and time we can accomplish anything. But with the onslaught of information hurled at us from the moment we wake up in the morning until we fall asleep at night, any moment we have just to shut our brains off to the constant noise is so precious, the idea of voluntarily taking on something new seems crazy.
It’s not only the volume of new information, it’s the pace of new information. Ten years ago you may have understood all the features in your cellphone but today’s smartphones are so super smart that we only know how to use a small percentage of the features. You want the latest model with all the new advances, but you don’t actually have the time to learn how to use them. As long as you can call, text and access Facebook, you’re generally happy. We have more information available to us now than at anytime in human history. Everything that we know about everything is available to us at the touch of a screen from a device that fits in the palm of our hand. We sent man to the moon with less knowledge than we have now yet most of us struggle to get to the end of the week without having a meltdown. We are so stressed, so overwhelmed, so exhausted. It’s too much.
But here’s the thing, unless we are actually pushing ourselves to learn new things, we are never going to develop and grow. And if we’re not doing that, we’re never going to achieve our goals and change our lives for the better. Tony Robbins says ‘If you’re not growing, you’re dying’. I would say we’re all dying, but if you’re not growing your dreams and the future you want and deserve to have are dying and you are cheating yourself out of days where you could be a lot happier than you are now. If you’ve not even had the time or the brain space to read this far, how are you going to incorporate lifelong learning and growth into your busy life. The truth is you’re not. It won’t happen, in fact it’s impossible. The only way is to stop the chaos and re-prioritize your life.
Create The Life You Want
People who are successful don’t watch tv, play candy crush or see how much weight their school friends have gained on Facebook. Instead they do things that bring them closer to their goals. They don’t engage in activities that suck the time out of their day without giving any real value back as they understand that time is something you cannot buy and therefore is their most valuable commodity. If you’re freaking out right now don’t panic. We’re just so addicted to all this stuff that life without it seems scary! But it’s just a habit that we’ve all fallen victim to and we can break it. That doesn’t mean you need to live in a cave with no wi-fi but you have to start being picky about your time and stop being so available to others. You have to set standards and set criteria that activities have to meet in order to qualify for your time and your head space.
That means that the first thing you should do in the morning is not check Facebook, it’s working out, meditating and planning your day. If you put these things off to later in the day they never get done – you know that! There are things in your life more important than your auntie’s critical analysis of last night’s soap opera that she just had to share and you have to start treating them as such. Don’t start your day by filling your mind with terrible news stories and other people’s dramas. Do the important things first. Be the top of your priority list. Because whatever you decide to do first you are declaring that to be the most important thing to you and your brain will respond appropriately. So if that’s Facebook gossip instead of yourself and your needs, then that’s where your focus will go and rather than become a better you, you will become a better Facebook gossiper. That’s a decision you make and if that makes you happy then great, but if you want more you have to start getting disciplined over what you allow to fill the space between your ears!
Live The Life You Want
You have to set out what’s important to you and what’s not. Where do you want to go and what do you need to do to get there? You must purge the activities and the people who are just not serving your needs or are standing in the way of your goals and dreams. Get disciplined with your thoughts and if you catch yourself thinking about stuff that is of no use to you and is stopping you from reaching your goals, such as re-playing an argument you had with your spouse three weeks ago then stop, check yourself and re-focus on the things that actually matter.
Write out your priorities and rank them with the most important at the top. The things at the top should be spending time with your family, working out, learning something that will help you grow, working on your business. What are your goals? Set targets and have a strategy to reach them. Look at your week. What are the things you have to do such as go to work or caring responsibilities? Create a timetable, mark off 8 hours of sleep everynight (non-negotiable) and the things you have to do.
You now have created a document showing you all your available time. Now you have to decide what to do with that time. Do you want to spend it on mindless activities or do you want to spend it on achieving your goals and getting you closer to the life you want? Are you spending too much time on housework? Can you do the grocery shopping more efficiently? Can you take turns with other parents to drive your kids to swim class? Be strict and be mindful. Don’t teach your kids that it’s OK to never spend time working on your goals. That following your dreams is only something you should do once the laundry is finished. Lead by example. Stop making excuses for not having time because you are not a slave, you have choices, use them.
When planning your time what you don’t want to do is create a massive to-do list. That is no use. Re-frame it. You want to look at your goals and schedule time in your week to work on achieving that goal. Focus on your goals and what you want to achieve, not stuff you have to do otherwise you will feel overwhelmed and will never make any progress. Set achievable targets for each session, week, month, year so you can see the progress you are making and use that to create momentum so you become an unstoppable force. Remember success is not about what you do one day, it’s about what you do everyday to get you closer to your goal. Learn to create good habits that have a purpose and actually serve you.
Only by changing how you live your life will you be able to find the time and head space you need to grow. To be able to learn something new, take care of your body, show up for your loved ones and create the life you want to live. Be disciplined with your phone set ten minute windows to catch up with your social media timeline, download your favorite programs and watch them at a time that fits into your schedule, perhaps while you’re working out? Nourish you mind, body and soul. Take care and be kind to yourself. Give yourself opportunities not obstacles. Life is short and if you’re not doing what matters then you will look back and be filled with regrets.
The time you need to invest in yourself is there – you just need to want it enough.