Finding time for success
Its that time of year again when we’re encouraged to look at everything we want to change or better about ourselves. We make a promise that this year we will do it, this year we will make a success of weight-loss, giving up smoking, eating better, doing more exercise, meditating, the list is endless. The truth of it is, this year most of us will fail.
Why would this year be any different to last year or the year before? Certainly not because you made a sacred pact with yourself on New Year’s Eve. We’ll fail because we’ve placed unrealistic expectations on ourselves that our lifestyles (in the current format) can’t allow us to achieve. And there’s a good reason for that; we don’t have time to succeed.
We’ve set our schedules up in a certain way to facilitate the things that we want to do. When you add in something extra, like a yoga class for example, as soon as our normal schedules ramp up, the first thing to fall of our to do list is the exercise class because we don’t have the time. If eating healthily was your goal, then as soon as life get’s busy, you swap health food for quick and easy meals because you don’t have the time to prepare them, fresh food takes longer to prepare than piercing the lid of a ready meal and blitzing it in the microwave.
Barriers to Success
Our lives are jam packed with activity or information. I say this from the perspective of someone who regularly plays the juggling game of work, kids, side hustle and some (albeit meagre) attempt at a social life. This is what an average day looks like for me:
- Get up – dealing with whatever chaos our new puppy Marley has left for me, wake the kids up… wake the kids up again… shout at the kids to get up while audibly lamenting what I’ve done to deserve such lazy children.
- Make breakfast – this involves feeding all the animals first (we’re a little bonkers so have more cats and dogs than a person should have but not so many that I come across as the crazy cat lady who’s house always vaguely smells of piss). Argue with the kids that there is in fact breakfast for everyone and how was I supposed to know that they don’t like Cheerios anymore?
- Get ready myself
- Deliver the smallest child to school and then drive on to work.
- Work for 5 hours and try to actually fit 8 hours of work into 5 hours because I feel guilty that I only work part time.
- Drive to pick up the smallest child from school. In the 15 minutes spare I have in the car while waiting for her to come out I browse social media, marvel at how good everyone else’s content is and then feel guilty that I don’t post enough.
- Arrive home – let the the dogs in the garden as they’ve all gone bonkers but are really really pleased to see me as they thought I might never come back (feel guilty about being out and so give them all a snack).
- Nag the smallest small to do her homework – get ignored. Get the oldest child to do her homework – get ignored.
- Start cooking dinner. In the interim other family members arrive home and create a happy chaos.
- After dinner I plan some yoga classes, this is where I manage to get in a bit of yoga practice too as a play with sequencing
- I then spend the rest of the evening double screening with the kids, we’re all on our mobile devices or tablets while watching tv and its awful.
I’m overloaded with information and I don’t have time to breath let alone integrate anything new!
If you really want your new year’s resolution to work try to come at it from a different perspective. Instead of thinking about what new thing you can add, first think about what you can take away from your daily schedule. What wouldn’t you miss? Mine’s easy – I can remove the phone time. I don’t mean time when I’m actually reading information or articles that interest me (because that’s actually useful) but I mean the needless scrolling. I can choose to follow social accounts that inspire me and mute or hide the ones that don’t. Furthermore I can set a daily limit on social apps on my phone (I’ve actually done this and its brilliant), all of which serves to give me more time.
Once you carved out some time you can then decide what you want to do with it. Its so precious, make it something good. Instead of focusing on losing weight, you could use your time to try out different recipes or ways of cooking that make you feel good. This even works when giving up smoking; giving yourself extra time might make you feel less stressed and so less inclined to reach for your lighter. When the urge to smoke arrives you could use your time to go for a walk.
I use my extra time to read. I’d stopped reading and I missed it so much and now that I have the time to do it I actually find that I sleep better because my evenings are no longer governed by my phone.
So my advice is this, instead of focussing on achieving a New Year’s resolution, decide simple to give yourself more time and then fill it with something nurturing and wonderful. In shot give yourself time for success.
If you liked this article you may also enjoy reading New Year: Celebrate Everything You Are