"Freedom and Greatness Belong to Those Who Master Their Day" - Brendon Burchard.
I walked past the gym in my building today, and it was PACKED. Every treadmill was in use and the sound of clanging weight machines could be heard from down the hallway. It's the time of year where everyone is on FIRE for their New Years resolution.
It was the busiest I've seen the gym since.... the second week of January last year.
We have all been there. The new year begins with infinite possibilities as we set out to be better than we were the year before. Then after about 2-3 weeks, something happens.
"I want to get to the gym, but I was up late working on a project for work".
"I wanted to work on that book I've been writing, but I got caught up on a phone call"
Doesn't it always seem like we run out of time when it comes to doing the things that light us up? We put in overtime for our jobs and give selflessly to family and friends, then when it comes down to doing the things that WE need-- the things that keep our bodies healthy, our minds calm, and our spirits filled, we are too depleted to follow through.
Then we wonder why we feel stressed, overwhelmed, and "stuck" in our lives?
I recently did sessions with two separate clients who mentioned that they don't feel supported by the people in their lives. Yet, we know that what we tend to see in the world around us is really just a reflection of what we see within ourselves.
With that in mind, I would suggest that the life you want begins with supporting yourself.... And that support begins with how we manage our time. It's the most precious resource that we have to create change.
In 2016, let's set an intention to better schedule our lives around what WE need, not what others want from us. To help you get clear, I have included the following non-negotiables that you must find time for.
- Sleep- It is scientifically proven that sleep is not just helpful for our physical health, it's necessary to our mental health. Lack of sleep is now proven to be a major contributing factor in worsening anxiety and depression. You MUST allow yourself at LEAST 7 hours a night, and 8 is the ideal. This might mean lessMaking a Murderer on Netflix, but the rewards are worth it.
- Meditation- Ideally, 20 minutes of meditation is what I suggest as a morning ritual, but you can see results with even 5-10 minutes twice a day. This is your time to get still, go within, and check in with your inner guidance on the issues in your life that are causing you stress. Don't know how to meditate? Send me an email so I can help you setup a practice.
- Exercise- What is a realistic goal for you? If you hate running, don't set a goal to run 2 miles a day that you know you can't keep. For you, it might be a 4 day a week goal of yoga or cardio. What's important is to get your body moving and stick to a plan.
- Creative Time- It might be writing, painting, singing, or dancing. Maybe you aren't an artist at all and your creative time is spent working on that new business you have always wanted to launch. You could set aside time each week to create action to bring it to life. This is your time to play, be inspired, and recharge your batteries
- Time with partner/loved ones- Relationships are important, and they will wither if we don't nurture them. This doesn't mean that you need to do a date night 5 nights a week. But can you set aside some time each day to be present for your partner, talk about their day, and actively listen to what they have to say? It could even be 20 minutes over dinner at night. But it should include putting the smartphone away and focusing on each other.
I know what you are thinking. "Dan... there isn't enough time for all of this!". Well, if you are working 12 hour days for an employer who only pays you for 8 of them, wasting 2 hours a day scrolling through Instagram or watching Netflix, or spending the precious remaining time taking care of everyone else in your life EXCEPT for you, then you are probably right.
But 2016 is a year to finally put yourself first. This is a year for you to stop the excuses and create the life you want. If you can't find 20 minutes for meditation twice a day, start with ten. If you can't do the gym 6 days a week, start with 3.But just start making time for you.
Does this mean that you have to become a selfish person? Absolutely not. But you must know that putting everyone else before yourself is what is making you feel stagnant.. It's ok for "No" to become a complete sentence when talking to others. It's ok to set better with those friends who are "energy sucks". You know who I mean.... the people that spend hours talking about themselves but can't be bothered to pick up the phone when you need them .In fact, it's time to let those people go altogether.
As a New Years gift, I've attached this worksheet to help you organize the first full work week of 2016. I realize we all have calendars in our smartphones, but take the time to put pen to paper and challenge yourself to carve out the sacred time each week for your non-negotiables.
Perhaps you combine them with other duties in your life. Could you actually take the time you need to walk your dog and turn it into a nice 20 minute jog for you both? If your family commitments will keep you from getting in your nighttime meditation, can you close your office door and get still for 20 minutes before you leave work for the day? My girlfriend and I sometimes make "creative time" a couples thing where we can sit on the deck together so that she can paint and I can write. However you choose to do it is up to you... but you must make the time to do it.
As always, please feel free to share this with anyone in your life who might need it and ask them to sign up at creativesoulcoaching.net for more free motivational emails. Also, feel free to comment below with your questions, comments, or maybe even an action plan on how you are going to better use your time to achieve your 2016 goals!