1. Do it for the why.
Do you suffer from racing thoughts, anxiety, self-doubt or trouble turning off your mind?
If you’re like me, about 30 days ago you made a few resolutions that revolved around taking better care of yourself.
Not because you want to be perfect or to ‘wow’ everyone on social media, but you want to be your awesomest right now so you can achieve the truly important goals in life – making a difference in the lives of others and in the world.
You want to feel healthy & vibrant with a calm mind so you can go about doing what really matters this year.
A groundbreaking study of 10,000 West Point cadets showed that internal motivators are what lead to positive outcomes. Doing something for a higher purpose, or for the joy of it, leads to long term success.
Vanity, pride, social acceptance and societal expectations can actually de-motivate us. Because really, in the end, what’s the point?
We resolve every year to get our bodies and minds running well so we can actually enjoy this ride called life.
We resolve to have robust hearts and muscles and brains because when we feel confident, peaceful and rested, we are more equipped to conquer our foes and fulfill our missions.
So before you give up on your self-care/self-improvement goal, consider why you want to achieve it. What is lighting your fire this year and what actions can you take to stoke it?
2. But, wait, there’s no time! How is it even possible?
I mean, seriously – aren’t you just too tired from stress and working too much and from already not feeling healthy and vibrant, that when you get a sliver of free time, you just want to crash with easy dopamine fixes, like:
•numbing medicine of choice (Prosecco for me, please!)
•virtual reality (soon it will be everyone’s reality)
•other escapes that don’t enrich us
It’s natural to want to comfort and “switch off” after a stressful day. Escaping, resetting, finding solace in something completely different from what you’ve done all day is human. Escaping in entertainment can be a great way to connect with others and wash away the day.
Except, “I just need to turn off my brain,” can become 4 hours of streaming, scrolling or surfing.
The escape time kind of feels like the only “me” time we get. We want to make it last, even if it’s not that great.
The escape tends to obey the law of diminishing returns.
It gets less great the more you do it.
The problem is, when we keep choosing to do things that actually bore us, annoy us, don’t inspire us and don’t bring us bliss or good health, like reading the news, scrolling feeds about celebrities or shopping online, we perpetuate the cycle of feeling overworked, unfulfilled, anxious and stressed.
It will take creativity to stop the cycle.
3. How could you steal little chunks of time from the stuff that isn’t making you a better or happier person?
For me, instead of spending my time on passive, low energy brain-relaxers in the evening, I started going to bed earlier. I use the stolen time in the morning when I don’t need to unwind, when I’m less likely to self-medicate, when nobody can bother me, to do non-urgent, important things that make me feel good. I use that time to savor my moments and pursue what inspires me. (your time-shift may vary depending on your chronotype*)
If we want to feel good about who we are and the lives we’re creating, we have to stop lying to ourselves, believing that one day we will have more time to actually do what makes life pleasurable and meaningful.
Take control of your time.
Time is right there waiting for you to use however you desire.
4. I still have obstacles. What do I do?
Last January, my top priority was to meditate. I was tired of reacting in anger and living as a prisoner to my uncontrollable thoughts. It made me miserable to be obsessed over things I couldn’t change.
I also resolved to go to yoga because I was sick of feeling stiff and in pain and disconnected from my body.
Guess which resolution I kept.
Did I keep a consistent meditation practice? Pretty much! I meditated because I found an app that required 10 minutes of my time. I made it a priority to get up early enough every morning to start my day with intention.
Because of Headspace https://www.headspace.com/, I’m a radically more patient and laid-back person. I now let things roll off my back that previously kept me up nights. The benefits are numerous and profound.
Did I attend yoga classes? Literally one time. I’m still stiff, have back problems and I can never truly physically relax.
I didn’t go to yoga (and it took several months to figure out why) because: anxiety. Many obstacles popped up when I tried to go.
I don’t want to pay for it, I don’t want to be in a crowded studio, I don’t like the stress it causes me to find the right class, wear the right outfit, battle the traffic, get the correct props, not feel like an out-of-place dork, etc., etc.
To get around those barriers, this year I decided to start doing yoga on my mat at home. Even 10 minutes a day will benefit me.
There is nothing perfect or ideal about it. But when I find myself tempted to look at my phone out of habit, I do some stretches & look up at the sky. I reap benefits, one mini session at a time.
Be easy on yourself.
Don’t aim for perfection. Aim for progress.
What can you start doing right now, even if it’s not perfect, not ideal?
Do it for you. Do it for that big purpose that’s super important to you right now.
The YOU of 2018 and beyond will thank YOU!!