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The Promises We Make to Ourselves

The Promises We Make to Ourselves


    Each day offers us a new promise.  A new beginning. A chance to do better and be a better person at home, work, and everything else in between. We set goals for ourselves to accomplish.  It starts off good.

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    But then the kids wake up, the phone rings, the emails come through, Facebook and Twitter messages come in, a conference call occurs, lunch happens, client meetings, and then next thing you know, it’s dinner time. Time to relax. Sip a good cup of tea, a cup of coffee, wine (or whatever your choice might be), and then bedtime.  We then lay our head down on our pillow, look up in the dark room and think to ourselves:

    “What did we really accomplish today? What happened to our promises to ourselves? Sure, we were busy, but did we get the right things done?  Did we forget or just talk ourselves out of our vision to do better today because we were too busy?”

    In this post, I’ll share with you three ways to change this routine.

    Write it down

    Keeping yourself accountable is one of the best ways to see measurable results.  Think of one to three things you want to do differently and write them down.  This is the “what”.  It could be anything at all, like I want to run a 5k, I want to learn how make sushi, I want to become a better public speaker, etc. From there, write down why this goal is important to you. It might seem foreign or bizarre, but it will feel good after you do it. Next, write down where you need to be in order to accomplish those things you wrote down (i.e., the gym, a community college course, at home, etc). Then, write down when you believe you can accomplish these things and jot down key milestones you want to accomplish along the way (i.e., rewarding yourself for finishing week 4 of an 8 week running course).  Be honest with yourself in your time commitments. Finally, and most importantly, write down how you are going to feel when you finish.  How will your spouse feel?  How will a business partner feel?  Knowing how you’ll feel is almost more important than knowing what you want to do because it enables you to clearly define the outcome.

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    Check it off

    Create a chart.  Nothing fancy.  In fact, make one that you can physically check off.  It will feel better!  On this chart, you’ll check off every day that you plan to accomplish this task.  For instance, if I promise myself I will run three times a week so that I can run a 5k, I will check off each time I do it.  When I get to week 4, I’ll have a place that shows I’ve accomplished a key milestone.  All too often we get caught up in “which app should I use” but I assure you, simple pen and paper will win here – and if you put it in a place that you will always see, it will help keep yourself accountable.

    Review what you’ve accomplished

    Each week, review the checkmarks on the chart.  Did you accomplish what you set out to do for that week?  What few things went right for you?  What challenges did you have?  What could have gone better or differently? What did you learn about yourself during this process?  Writing a log at the end of each week helps you to “think out loud” about the things that will help you.  When you successfully complete those one to three things (because you can!), reward yourself.  You’ve honored your commitments.  Write down how it feels and then compare that to what you wrote down in the beginning.  Do you feel the same? Better? Different?  How has your life changed, if any, as a result?

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    If you follow these three steps, each day won’t just be a chance to do better or become better … you will be better as a result! You will be able to go through the course of your day more confident, and when you rest your head on your pillow and look up in the dark room and think to yourself about what you accomplished during the day, you can smile and sleep better!

    (Photo credit: Child with Raised hand Making a Promise via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on June 1, 2021

    7 Signs That You’re Way Too Busy (And Need to Change That)

    7 Signs That You’re Way Too Busy (And Need to Change That)

    “Busy” used to be a fair description of the typical schedule. More and more, though, “busy” simply doesn’t cut it.

    “Busy” has been replaced with “too busy”, “far too busy”, or “absolutely buried.” It’s true that being productive often means being busy…but it’s only true up to a point.

    As you likely know from personal experience, you can become so busy that you reach a tipping point…a point where your life tips over and falls apart because you can no longer withstand the weight of your commitments.

    Once you’ve reached that point, it becomes fairly obvious that you’ve over-committed yourself.

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    The trick, though, is to recognize the signs of “too busy” before you reach that tipping point. A little self-assessment and some proactive schedule-thinning can prevent you from having that meltdown.

    To help you in that self-assessment, here are 7 signs that you’re way too busy:

    1. You Can’t Remember the Last Time You Took a Day Off

    Occasional periods of rest are not unproductive, they are essential to productivity. Extended periods of non-stop activity result in fatigue, and fatigue results in lower-quality output. As Sydney J. Harris once said,

    “The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”

    2. Those Closest to You Have Stopped Asking for Your Time

    Why? They simply know that you have no time to give them. Your loved ones will be persistent for a long time, but once you reach the point where they’ve stopped asking, you’ve reached a dangerous level of busy.

    3. Activities like Eating Are Always Done in Tandem with Other Tasks

    If you constantly find yourself using meal times, car rides, etc. as times to catch up on emails, phone calls, or calendar readjustments, it’s time to lighten the load.

    It’s one thing to use your time efficiently. It’s a whole different ballgame, though, when you have so little time that you can’t even focus on feeding yourself.

    4. You’re Consistently More Tired When You Get up in the Morning Than You Are When You Go to Bed

    One of the surest signs of an overloaded schedule is morning fatigue. This is a good indication that you’ve not rested well during the night, which is a good sign that you’ve got way too much on your mind.

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    If you’ve got so much to do that you can’t even shut your mind down when you’re laying in bed, you’re too busy.

    5. The Most Exercise You Get Is Sprinting from One Commitment to the Next

    It’s proven that exercise promotes healthy lives. If you don’t care about that, that’s one thing. If you’d like to exercise, though, but you just don’t have time for it, you’re too busy.

    If the closest thing you get to exercise is running from your office to your car because you’re late for your ninth appointment of the day, it’s time to slow down.

    Try these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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    6. You Dread Getting up in the Morning

    If your days are so crammed full that you literally dread even starting them, you’re too busy. A new day should hold at least a small level of refreshment and excitement. Scale back until you find that place again.

    7. “Survival Mode” Is Your Only Mode

    If you can’t remember what it feels like to be ahead of schedule, or at least “caught up”, you’re too busy.

    So, How To Get out of Busyness?

    Take a look at this video:

    And these articles to help you get unstuck:

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    Featured photo credit: Khara Woods via unsplash.com

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