Ever feel like you are trying to improve too many areas of your life at once? Workout more, eat less junk, sleep more, schedule extra curricular classes for the kids, go to the dentist, pay more attention to friendships, deep clean garage, fix household appliance, work on marriage, seek more alone time, try something new, ect… Last month I was doing physical therapy, committing to drinking 50 ounces of water a day, trying to wash my face before bed, eat healthy, exercise, have some kid-free time with my husband, ect…and I decided it was all too much. I took a deep breath and asked myself what was important to me right now. I picked two things. (Get ready to go inside my brain). I decided that I liked the way I felt and looked when I was hydrated and that instead of washing my face before bed, drinking water would count as caring for my face “from the inside” as well as my entire body. So that’s right…I have removed the evening face-washing goal. If it happens great, but if not I have let it go. I also decided that since I am spending money on seeing a particular Physical Therapist whom I absolutely love and waited years to see, doing my physical therapy exercises over the next 6 weeks would be “enough” exercise. Does that mean that I haven’t snuck in long walks, date nights, friend-time, or signing up my kid for a swimming lesson… no. But it does mean I know what “winning” looks like right now. If I drink my water and do my exercises most days, I feel good with how I am spending my time. Sound silly?
It’s important to be specific about what we are aiming for each day. If you are going to bed at night and telling yourself “jeez, I didn’t get anything done today,” it leaves you feeling like a failure. It’s also likely not because you technically didn’t do anything, it’s because you didn’t do anything you wanted to do…you didn’t check off anything on your “win list”.
What 2-3 items are on your “win list?”
*Another caution. Don’t strive for perfection. I tried it and it doesn’t work. Perfection is an immobilizer. If you eat one donut your healthy eating isn’t blown forever. If you have a fight with your partner during “date night” (it happens), your relationship isn’t on the brinks, and if you lose your cool with your child you are not a bad parent (though this one is hard for me). Shoot for 80%. Shoot for most of the time. But also show yourself that you are flexible. As we approach the New Year and holiday season is upon us, we will be confronted with ample suggestions on how to live, how to “be better.” Stay away from generic self-improvement suggestions and get in tune with your personal goals.
**If you want help taking ownership of your time, contact me about my time-management workshop. It’s fun, personal, and will leave you with a calendar you will love.