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7 Ways You Can Make Time For Your Passion

7 Ways You Can Make Time For Your Passion

“Someday, when I’ve got the time…”

Have you ever said that to yourself? Most of us are great at putting off what we really want to do for someday. When life is less busy, when we “have the time”, when we’ve reached a certain level of income or success.

But the truth is, someday always seems to stay in the near future. We can never quite make it … and we never quite get started following our passions and doing what we really want with our lives.

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If you’re truly passionate about something, you need to get started now. It doesn’t mean you have to quit your job and go for it full-time. It doesn’t mean you need to neglect your family and responsibilities, and it doesn’t mean you need to become an expert overnight. But if you’re truly passionate, you need to carve out some regular time to do what you love.

The key in following your passion is consistency. You need to decide that you’re going to take action, and then take a small step forward on a regular basis. Maybe you’ve always wanted to play the piano. You don’t need to buy a grand piano and play 8 hours per day. Why not start by reading a book about playing the piano? Listening to recordings of expert pianists. Ask a friend to show you the basics. Buy a keyboard and play for 15 minutes every morning. It’s these small steps, done regularly, which will add up to huge results.

The most common excuse I hear about not following our dreams, is that we just don’t have the time. Here are 7 tips to help you make the time to follow your passion.

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Start with a schedule reality-check.

If your days feel completely full and you can’t imagine finding any time to follow your passion, it’s time for a schedule reality-check.

For 3 days, carry a little notebook with you (or use the notepad on your phone) and every 30 minutes, just make a note of what you’re doing.

You’ll probably uncover a few gaps of ‘hidden’ time. Have you ever ‘quickly checked’ Facebook and found yourself surfing aimlessly 30 minutes later? What about watching a few minutes of TV that turns into a couple of hours? These are little chunks of time that can be used to work on your passion.

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Learn to say no.

A completely full schedule can make you feel stuck and unable to follow your dreams. But do you really need to do everything in your schedule? We often take on commitments that we don’t really need to do, and we continue to do them out of habit or guilt. Look back over your schedule from the past month. What items are you really excited about doing and love to do? Those can stay. Everything else should be scrutinized. Do you really have to do this task or can it be delegated? Is there someone who would enjoy that responsibility, or who could do it better than you could? Can you hire someone to do it for you? Is there a way you can do it faster, ask for help, or do it less often? Eliminating even one or two unnecessary activities per month can free up time to follow your passion.

Join a class.

If you haven’t made it a priority to follow your passion before, you might find it hard to stick to your new goal. That’s where a class can be so useful. If you sign up for a class in your interest area, you’re more likely to attend on a regular basis because you’ve committed to a series, and there are other people going through it with you. Plus, you’ll meet other people who share your interests, which can encourage you to keep going long-term. And that leads us to…

Find a Buddy.

It’s easier to stick with a new habit or goal when you’re not alone. Finding a friend who is also interested in the same subject (or even one who has decided to make time to follow their own dreams and goals) can help you stick with it. You can meet up once a week to do an activity together, or even just have a phone call or a coffee to talk about how it’s going for you – and help each other stick to your goals of making time for your passion!

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Maximize your between times.

Waiting at the doctor’s office. Standing in line at the grocery store. Waiting to meet a friend for coffee. There are lots of small bits of ‘between time’ in your day that you can put to use taking action on your passion. You might bookmark sites in your interest area to read during these down times, or a carry a related book that you can read, or even keep a notebook with you to do some planning in these between-times.

Ask for help.

This is a tough one for many of us, but you don’t have to do everything alone. If you’re really serious about following your passion, you need to tell you friends and family about it, and ask them to support you. They might volunteer to babysit so you have a couple of hours to study. Maybe your husband or wife could do the grocery shopping (or another chore) so you have time to work on your passion (and you can return the favor for them later). Telling your family and friends will also open up more connections who share your interests. You’ll never know who they could introduce you to!

Go slowly.

Some people make dramatic changes overnight and suddenly leap into pursuing their passions full-time. For most of us, our ideal life following our passions unfolds slowly, over time. And that’s OK. This slow and steady approach gives us time to learn and become experts, and to grow into our passion. If your goal is to become a television presenter, and you were offered your dream job tomorrow, how good of a presenter would you be? It’s better to learn, practice, and develop your confidence and skills in your new area of interest, continually moving into your dream life, rather than leaping into it unprepared. It all comes back to consistency. So while it probably feels like your dream life isn’t happening fast enough, try to appreciate the journey and be open to opportunities as they arise.

How do you make time in your busy life to pursue your passion? What has worked the best for you?

 

Featured photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/travisrockphotography/6560696273/ via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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