A common excuse we hear as to why people aren’t doing the things they really want to is that they don’t have enough time.
This excuse of not having enough time has become a story we constantly tell ourselves which results in:
- Poor planning and productivity.
- Our health, relationships and work suffering.
- Lack of ambition or drive.
- Lower levels of motivation, self-confidence and self-esteem.
- Disconnection from our dreams.
The truth is we all have the same amount of time each day. How we use our time determines the quality of our daily experiences.
If we’re honest with ourselves, we all can find time daily for things that matter most to us.
Consider this scenario: say you have 30 minutes to spare because you’re between tasks or appointments, or you simply don’t have anything planned — how can you make better use of that time?
It’s easy to do things for others first before taking care of our needs. All too often, those who do things for themselves first are labelled as being selfish.
Is it so wrong to do things for ourselves before doing things for others?
One of the best metaphors I’ve come across to explain this is to imagine being in an emergency situation in an aeroplane. The pilot’s voice comes over the announcement system saying cabin pressure has dropped and he has released the oxygen masks. His instruction is to put on your mask first.
In such a situation, it’s vital we put on our mask first before helping others with theirs. This is because if we’re running out of oxygen, it won’t be long before we’re in a serious situation, that could cause us to pass out, or even worse, die! If we’re incapacitated, we’re of no use to anyone else.
The Costs of Not Taking Care of Yourself First
- Feeling run down mentally, emotionally and physically.
- High levels of frustration and resentment towards those we deal with regularly.
- Not being at our best consistently.
- Taking a lot longer to get things done.
- Not being able to serve those we care about as best as we can.
Doing things for ourselves should be considered as selfless rather than selfish.
Whenever we’re in a situation that is unpleasant due to someone being difficult or uncooperative, it can trigger a number of emotions.
These emotions can include anger, resentment, discomfort, fear, embarrassment or disappointment.
While it can be easy to let others affect our emotional state, if we have adequate tools to deal with difficult people or situations, we’ll have a much better chance of managing our emotions appropriately.
Since we interact with people all the time, knowing what to do or what to say whenever we’re dealing with someone difficult, will allow us to focus on what we need to do without getting caught up in the other person’s drama.
In my previous manufacturing career, the company I worked for had a sales manager who would get angry whenever there were delays with customer orders. It didn’t matter if there were valid reasons for delays such unexpected machinery breakdown, or if there were traffic delays on the road while delivering products to customers.
This sales manager had a reputation of being difficult to reason with and he wasn’t the most approachable person in the company.
On one occasion, there was a delay with delivery to a major customer and resulted in the customer giving him a call to find out why their delivery was delayed. The sales manager called the delivery manager at the time to find out what was going on.
Goals give us meaning and direction in life. Those don’t have goals usually lack the motivation to achieve things that matter, and often settle for the life they have drifted into.
While setting goals is important, achieving them often requires more focus and commitment.
Common advice related to setting goals include:
- Set goals that motivate or inspire you.
- Ensure goals are measurable and have a due date.
- Write down your goals.
- Create a plan to achieve your goals.
- Take consistent action.
While those are valuable advice, there is more we can do to give ourselves a better chance of achieving our goals.
We’re constantly interacting with people and sometimes, it can be difficult to start a conversation with someone, if we don’t know them well.
What do we say to start a conversation that is meaningful?
If we’re interacting with colleagues in a work or business environment, it can be easier to have a conversation because we’ll have things in common to talk about.
If we’re meeting someone for the first time, either in a social gathering or in a more formal setting, having something intelligent to say is important if we want to make a good first impression.
There are some simple things we can do to appear to be more willing to have a conversation with others, such as:
- Having a handshake or a hug, if appropriate.
- Maintaining good body language.
These are things we can do before we say anything. Starting a conversation worth remembering takes a lot more.
It’s highly unlikely anyone wakes up in the morning and says, “I wish my life was harder.” We want our lives to be easier.
We also want the process of making our lives easier to be easy as well. Sometimes we get caught up in the buzz around a new product or gadget that promises to make us more efficient, only to find that it actually requires more work use the product or gadget correctly to make our lives easier.
The ideas suggested here are not related to new products or gadgets. It’s about simple practices or things we can do right now to make our lives easier.
The Benefits of an Easier Life
- You will feel happier and less overwhelmed.
- You will have more time to do things that matter to you.
- You will have a better outlook on life.
- You will experience more progress or growth.
- You will have less things that can take you away from doing things that are important.
The good news is we can start doing things today to make our lives easier.
How we operate daily is a reflection of the habits we have. The more good habits we have, the better our lives will be.
As we all desire to improve and have better lives, sometimes we struggle to follow through and stick to doing the things we know will be beneficial to us.
While having an intention to make a positive change, such as exercising a few times per week, drinking plenty of water daily or getting enough sleep each night, is a good starting point, sticking to the new habits is challenging.
One of the reasons why people abandon their New Year’s resolutions is because they are not able to lock in their new habits over the long term.
The Costs of Not Sticking to Our Habits
- It generates feelings of disappointment, regret and resignation.
- We lose trust in ourselves as we’re unable to keep our commitments.
- It lowers our self-confidence.
- We’re reluctant to try something that requires a long-term commitment.
- We don’t progress as quickly as we’d like to.
It’s one thing to identify a new or good habit we want to have, but it’s much more challenging to actually stick with it.
Failure can be our greatest teacher in life. It’s inevitable we’ll have our fair share of failure as we pursue bigger goals in life.
It’s often said that if we’ve never failed, it means we’ve never tried anything new or stepped outside of our comfort zone.
If what we do or don’t do is driven by our desire to avoid failing, we will struggle to get to higher levels of achievement.
Winston Churchill said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
Reasons Why We Fail
- Lack of persistence.
- Lack of knowledge.
- Lack of effective plans.
- Lack of self-belief.
- Giving up too soon.
- Not learning from past mistakes or failures.
- Not taking personal responsibility for our results.
- Not taking effective action.
- Not being clear about what we want or where we want to be.
- Not willing to ask for help when we face challenges.
If we want to achieve more success, we have to embrace failure and view it differently.
The quality of our lives comes is related to the quality of decisions we make. The better our decisions, the better results we will create in all areas of our lives.
How to make better decisions is not something we are taught at a young age. We often learn to make right decisions from our experiences and mistakes.
Why is it Difficult to Make Decisions?
There are many factors that affect our ability to make decisions, which include:
- Doubt and uncertainty.
- Fear of the consequences by imagining worse-case scenarios.
- Fear of being judged by others.
- Fear of looking foolish or stupid.
- Fear of the costs of making mistakes.
We have to be willing to accept that there will be times when we will make wrong decisions, but we should always learn from those decisions.
We all experience fear, which plays out in different ways for each person. For some of us, it plays out as excuses we make for why we aren’t achieving the results we want.
For others, it may play out as justification, being practical or being responsible. Fear can be useful because it helps keep us safe, but all too often, that level of safety becomes our comfort zone.
How Does Fear Affect You
When we give in to our fears, it can:
- Create self-doubt in our ability to do something we’ve never done before.
- Stop us from pursuing our dreams.
- Put additional strain on our closest relationships.
- Lower our self-confidence and self-esteem.
- Lead to regret later on in life.
If we allow fear to control us, it will dictate what we will or will not do. We have to learn to overcome the fears that are holding us back from creating the outcomes we want.