As the new year approaches, a common theme is to come up with a couple of resolutions that will set you on the right path to lose weight, start a fitness regime, improve finances, or focus on other areas where improvement is needed. Despite your good intentions, most of the resolutions you promised yourself will never come to fruition. Past experience tells you that a few weeks into the new year old habits will take over and the motivation to continue will wane.
Instead of focusing on those few extra pounds from spiked eggnogs, cookie swaps, and holiday merriment, or your bank account that probably took a hit from the gift giving season, you might want to try this: write down how many things you have done for you during the past year. In another column, write down how many times you’ve done for others. If you’re like most women in Act 2.5, the you list will most likely be much shorter.
If you’re still working, it’s likely you stayed late or went in on weekends to keep ahead of work or to finalize a project. If you’re a grandmother, you probably babysat a bunch of times or helped out financially. You may have elder care, where you’re assisting with shopping, cleaning, or driving to doctor’s visits. Or you may have supported a good friend who lost a spouse or a parent.
Now that the new year is almost upon us it’s time to make you a priority in your life.
While you have been busy helping others, chances are all the running around has taken its toll on you. By putting pen to paper, you’ll see that you tend to come last, and now that the new year is almost upon us it’s time to make you a priority in your life. For when you learn to give to yourself first, you’ll be able to help others without depleting yourself. Your life will have balance, and the goals you set for yourself will have a greater chance of success.
To start, make it a priority to do something everyday that you enjoy.
Listen to a podcast, music, read, watch that sitcom you’ve DVR’d but haven’t gotten around to watch.
Learn to say no once in a while. Use phrases like “I can’t right now because I have too much on my plate,” or “thanks for thinking of me, but I can’t right now.” Be honest. Don’t be afraid to to admit that you’re not feeling up to it and you need a night to regroup.
Add at least one meaningful task to your day. Make a to-do list and check off at least one item a day. This way you won’t feel like you’re falling behind.
Plan a fun activity every week. Go dancing or to the movies or to a comedy club. Dine at that new restaurant you’ve been meaning to try. Instead of heading to the gym, plan a hike with a friend or go bowling. In the winter, dust off your old skates and look for a public skating rink.
Unplug for at least 1-2 hours a day. No facebook, Words with Friends, Emails, etc. Give your eyes and hands a much needed rest.
Try to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Feeling refreshed gives life a whole new prospective.
Be patient with yourself. You can’t do it all so don’t even try. You may have your own list for making YOU a priority, but what’s important is to recognize that putting yourself first doesn’t mean you can’t do for others. The difference is while you’re doing for others you’ll be wearing a smile!