We all know the importance of investing time to make something work. It’s simple; what you put in, you get out. Yet our ideals for what we would like to do don’t always measure up to our actions. This leaves us feeling unbalanced, unsatisfied and frustrated; it’s a vicious circle.
Many of us notice the same resolutions cropping up month-after-month, year-after-year; whether it’s a will to wake up earlier, take control of our health, spend more time with friends and family or make time for our passion projects.
We know that we need to be doing these things more but figuring out how, where and when they fit into our busy (and conveniently routine) lives is easier said than done.
A revolutionary yet now seemingly obvious thought occurred to me during one of my morning meditations: ‘how do I expect to grow in these areas if I’m not nurturing the relationships?’ It’s like the old plant analogy: If I’m not watering the seed, it’s not going to grow – let alone flourish!
I realised that I was giving all of my energy to my work and home life while also growing a baby in my uterus (where else?), which left-to-no space for any of my other intentions. Clearly, they weren’t a high enough priority in my day. Which is not to say I didn’t care about those things. I did, but my habits weren’t reflective of my desire for change. So I decided to take action in my own life and write this blog post in the hope that it inspires you to do the same.
My Three-Stage Method
1. Identify Your Key Areas
Think about your values and goals and create a list of up to 8 categories. Most commonly, people choose: family & friends, career, finances, health, romance, personal development, fun & hobbies, contribution to society. You can swap some in or out though depending on your own preferences.
Number them from 1 – 10 in terms of how much energy you currently give to each area. Then, next to that number, write the number that you’d like to give. This will show you the areas in which you can pull back, thus giving your more energy to invest in other aspects of your life.
2. Make An Actionable Plan
Now you know where you can theoretically save and spend more time, you need to schedule it in. It’s the quickest way to form a new habit, and once you do it a few times it will start to become more natural.
Take a look at your diary before the start of each week (I like to do this on a Sunday) and set yourself reminders to message friends, head to the gym or block out an hour for you. See these things as law and make a promise to yourself to keep them.
Of course, life happens and sometimes the unexpected will interfere with our schedules. When this happens, take a moment to think if it’s more important than the promise you’ve made yourself. If it’s not, politely decline or see if anyone else can help. If it takes priority, reschedule your original intention as soon as you can so it doesn’t get lost in the business of your week.
3. Stay Accountable
Forming new habits means getting uncomfortable stepping outside of your familiar routine, so having support is key.
We’re proven to succeed more when we’re being held accountable. After all, breaking a promise to ourselves often doesn’t feel like we’re letting anyone else down. We simply skip over the fact that breaking promises to ourselves has a huge negative impact on our self-confidence and belief – more on that in another blog post.
- Share your intentions with a family member so they can check up on your progress (in a supportive and genuine way, not like a teacher checking your homework!)
- Book in a weekly workout or business-planning hour with a friend to help you keep up your momentum.
- Join a group on Facebook or forum to converse with like-minded people who share your goal and empathise with your struggles.
- Join a regular class (whether in person or online), that makes you to show up at a set time each week.
Please share any other ideas in the comments below.
On a personal note, I’ve introduced earlier wake-ups for my new morning routine, which includes meditation, gratitude & sending love to other people. I’ll share it in more detail soon, but I’ve found that it’s helped me to focus my attention away from my to-do list and my own goals, and instead look outward to the world and people around me.
Also, in the name of sharing and being held accountable, these are my five intentions that I’m going to give more time to:
- Be in better contact with friends
- Be more proactive with plans
- Calve out more ‘me-time’
- Turn my passion into a business
- Explore my spiritual beliefs
Which areas will you focus more on?