I’ve had several conversations recently with friends, colleagues and acquaintances about what they consider their biggest challenges on a day-to-day basis. It probably won’t come as a surprise that time – or the lack of it – is often right at the top of the list. Whether it is time for their workouts, time to see friends, time to prepare healthy meals for their families, or even plain old down time, there doesn’t seem to be enough of it. Between work and family responsibilities, it can feel difficult to find an island of time we can call our own.
Yet, we all have the same amount. Everyone gets 24 hours, 7 days a week. It’s how we consciously choose to spend those hours that makes the difference in our feeling centered and collected, or frazzled and overwhelmed. By the time we reach adulthood, everyone will have their fair share of responsibilities and commitments – to our families, work, friends and communities. Perhaps we also invest time in a cause or activity we care about. We likely take these commitments to heart, and take those responsibilities seriously. But what about those commitments we make to ourselves. Where do they fit in? And why do they sometimes seem to come last?
A commitment to yourself is a commitment. It is just as important as any other commitment you make. If you decide to make getting in shape a priority and make a commitment to work out three times a week, that is, in essence, a promise you make to yourself. You are declaring that your health and wellness are a priority, and are going to act on that. If you make a commitment to someone you love you would, in all likelihood, make every effort to honor it. Why wouldn’t you do that for yourself? If you wouldn’t think of cancelling out on your best friend at the last minute, or just deciding not to show up because something else came up, aren’t you (and your well-being) at least as important?
When we follow through with commitments we make to others, it tells them that we value them and the relationship. When we keep our promises to ourselves, we are saying we respect and value ourselves. We have made taking care of ourselves a priority and are following through on that. Here are some ideas of ways you might begin to fit time for well-being into your day:
- Get up a half-hour early and go for a two-mile run before starting your day.
- Take time for meditation. Even 10-15 minutes a day can make an enormous difference in how you feel over time.
- Get to bed a half-hour early to unwind, read and relax before sleep
- For some, Sunday dinner with family, or a weekly dinner with friends, is essential for a feeling of connectedness.
- Sign up for a yoga class and make that a weekly ritual.
Whatever it is that nurtures our minds, bodies, and spirits – our sense of well-being – these are the things we need to make time for. We need to make that time we have committed to ourselves just as important as any other commitment, and protect it. This also means that we may have to say no to other non-essential activities and requests. Saying no to those non-essential requests means you are saying yes to yourself. When we do this, when we make valuing and taking care of ourselves a priority, everything else in our life seems to just flow more easily. We work better, we are more present for our families and others, we are happier and more creative. We enjoy life more, as we are meant to.
Make sure to keep your promises to everyone in your life, and include yourself right up there at the top. When you are at your best, it benefits everyone and everything around you, so keep those commitments you make to you.
Coach’s Action step: At the beginning of your week, take out your calendar and block out time for you – it may be for your workouts for the week, or a block of time to clean out your closet, or another project you have been meaning to get around to. Whatever you decide, that’s your commitment to you. Let me know how it goes!
I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me at any time with any questions or comments!