I spend a lot of time helping others – it’s one of my passions, but it’s also one of my weaknesses. From small gestures like helping a friend choose an outfit to bigger commitments like building websites, I learned the hard way that all those external activities add up.
Confession: Last year, I made it all the way to December without hitting any of my own goals. Not one.
How did that happen?
Almost every day after work, I had a list of tasks to complete for other people. I was drained (and cranky). The worst part is that I had already started to set myself up for another year without resolving when/how I would pursue my own thing.
So I stopped.
Kidding! It wasn’t that easy, and I still struggle to say no, but I’m much better at it now than I ever have been. I listened to a great episode of Being Boss a few weeks ago, and they verbalized exactly what I’d started feeling at the end of 2015:
How you live your every day is how you live your whole life.
My day-to-day last year was nonstop, for no good reason. I wasn’t enjoying myself anymore. Most of these projects had started out as “quick favors” and morphed into bigger projects requiring constant work. I was in so deep that I didn’t know how to turn down the follow-up requests or (in some cases) ask for compensation. So I pushed myself through and closed out any open favors-turned-projects. Next I told my friends I had a long-term project coming up that would take up a lot of time.
It started with one tiny promise to myself.
I wanted to dedicate a piece of my daily routine to myself, and I needed to find the energy to work towards my own dreams. Then, I got a call from my college roommate (hi, Meagan!) inviting me to try out a new gym nearby.
I agreed to it, but I dreaded it all the same. I had never worked out in a group setting without the comfort of family, and I was not a fan of traditional gyms. I’ll admit I don’t want to bother choosing equipment and designing a routine for myself. I need someone to tell me what to do, and definitely can’t afford personal training.
So I took a deep breath and went for it.
I started with a pair of hand-me-down sneakers and some old workout clothes from years ago. But I promised myself this was for me, and there were no excuses allowed. I didn’t let myself get distracted by feelings of unpreparedness. I showed up, hid in the back, sweat like crazy, and went home feeling awkward.
The magic happened when I did it again, for a whole week. Then another week, soon a month, and now 8 months! Sticking to this simple goal freed up my time and gave me the confidence to start adding on more personal goals. Every day that I show up is a reminder that I can and I will. I use this momentum for other aspects of my life, like passing that exam earlier this summer, or starting my newsletter a few weeks ago.
When you commit to yourself in one small thing, you grow better and stronger in everything else. We’re all too busy for the basis of our sanity and happiness to not come from a simple act of self-love.
The world won’t collapse if you pull back a little, and in case it does, you’ll be stronger and ready to fix it up.
Now I’ve got a few questions for you:
- When was the last time you committed to yourself?
- When was the last time you put your self-care on the back burner?
- What is your next target?
I can’t wait to read your stories,