"If you would create
something, first you must
be something.”
Johann Wolfgang
von Goethe

Make Me Time a Habit
(Tuesday, April 29th, 2014)

Make Me Time a Habit

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How many times have you heard yourself say any one of the following phrases to yourself?
• “I wish I had more time.”
• “There aren’t enough hours in the day.”
• “I need a vacation.”
• “I’m tired.”

So often people tell me that they feel something is missing in their life. Once we examine things, we see that they are the one missing from their life. They take the time for everything but themselves. It makes me crazy when I ask people what they do in their spare time for fun and they say that they don’t have any spare time. (Insert rolling of my eyes here.) Really? How much television have you watched this week? How much time have you spent surfing social media sites or playing mindless video games on your “smart” phone? These things have their place, but sometimes I feel our phones are getting smarter and we are getting dumber. I believe that if you really want to make the time for you, it’s possible and I know for a fact that it is necessary for growth and mental health.

Work, children, parents, everyday life and more you tell me keep you from taking time for yourself. Hobbies and fun activities that you indulged in when you were younger have been long since abandoned. Your life has become stereotypical and routine. We live in a society where people feel they have to justify making time for themselves and so many adults live a joyless and mechanical existence. As Henry David Thoreau once said, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”

We all live busy lives, but what is it about being busy that makes us feel important? I found myself bragging lately about how much traveling I’m doing and how busy I am. Does being busy make me important? No. The thing about life is that it isn’t a competition, and no one is keeping score. At the end of the day if you keep pushing, going and striving, eventually you will reach a breaking point. Often when people have been pushing themselves too hard for too long, they often get sick or develop an unhealthy condition that forces them to stop and slow down. I know a woman who worked for 18 hours a day while growing her law practice until she blew out 2 discs in her back and was told that she literally might never feel her lower extremities again. What a wake up call. It took her body screaming in pain before she actually took some time for her.

My goal is that you don’t wait for something bad to happen to find some time for you. There are 8,766 hours in a year and I would like to think that you can MAKE some time for you. Notice I said MAKE. Free time will always evade you if you are waiting for it to show up, but if you MAKE it, then you are in charge.

Here are some ideas for MAKING the time for yourself a habit.

To do this you may first have to change your mindset and realize that you are just as important as the other gazillion things you give your time to. Stop feeling guilty. I had a woman in my class recently come to the realization that since her son was born, she had been feeling guilty about going to the gym, so she had stopped her workouts. It suddenly dawned on her that her husband hadn’t stopped going to the gym, and it was time she made herself a priority again and resume her workouts. Women especially feel that they have to complete everything on their to-do list and tend to everyone else’s needs before they take time for themselves. I tell them that is it the other way around. You must make yourself a priority and then everyone in your life benefits from your energy and vitality.

Taking time for you will reduce your stress levels, and helps you feel more balanced. When you feel more healthy and balanced you make better decisions are more productive and simply more fun to be around. Everything in your life relies on your health and vitality. The problem is that with so many people using their “business” as a way to measure their importance, we fall into the trap of putting everyone else’s needs before our own. Whenever I hear myself complaining about how busy I am, I remind myself that I have no one to blame but myself. I have created this life for myself and I am taking full responsibility. I know how good it feels to be full of energy, life and vitality and I know the world won’t fall apart if I make time for me and my health will benefit.

The most successful people schedule time to stop, reflect and reevaluate their lives on a regular basis. If you are always rushing through life, you don’t have the time to access how you are doing. The problem with this is that it doesn’t matter how fast you are going, if you are going in the wrong direction. Taking regular breaks to access your life will be beneficial to everyone. What you will find is the only time you experience real growth and development is when you are alone. You can do this by taking a weekend retreat to be with your thoughts, or it can be as simple as adopting the habit of journaling. I know for a fact that if journal for an extended period of time, you will without a doubt experience a breakthrough, gain clarity over a challenge or have an “aha” moment.

When you have no clear priorities, everything seems important. You say yes to too many things and your find you have no time for yourself. Once you clarify your top priorities, it gives you the power to say no to those things that take you off course. For example if spending time with your family, your yoga class and your charity work are the most important things to you in addition to your job, you are the only one responsible for making sure these things make it to your calendar. Having these priorities clearly defined gives you the strength to say no to the things that take up your time and take you off course.

Before the week begins, schedule time for you. What you do with your time is personal, but schedule an appointment on your calendar, just like you would with someone else. Block out a set amount of time and take it for you, even if it is only 20 minutes. Do this for 3 weeks straight and pay attention to how you feel. It may be uncomfortable at first, but stick with it and get reaquainted with yourself.

Commit to taking time out for you for one month. You can pick the amount of time you want to devote to this. It could be 3 hours a week, 1 day a month, or whatever, just be as specific as possible. What you doing during this time should be something that feeds your soul. At first it may feel odd and you may be uncomfortable, but sit with that feeling and ask yourself what you would like to do with your newfound time. When you feel centered and good about yourself, everyone will benefit. MAKE it a habit.

Love & Light,

P.S. Book me to speak at your next book club, special event or group and you’ll receive a referral fee. Discounts will also be offered for groups over 25. Email to inquire.

Purchase your signed copy of Happiness is a Habit HERE.

Michele was featured on A Healthy You and the Carol Alt on FOXNEWS this past weekend. Watch the videos HERE.