I hope everyone has had a fantastic Christmas/Happy Holidays! This year has been an especially good year at Christmas for me. I spent time with family, opened amazing gifts, and spent time with friends, as well. I know that not everyone is capable of having such a fulfilling holiday, so I sincerely hope it was good for you in other ways. I feel supremely blessed that I have so many in my life I can share it with.
The subject of many an article this week will be on New Year Resolutions. Some labelled, “Love the New You in the New Year” or something else equally lame. Today I thought I would look at the reverse of this. I’m very Anti-Resolutions. Why wait for a new year to start something you should start today. Especially if you’re resolved to lose weight or learn to love yourself or learn the bassoon. Honestly, those are all good things. Except the bassoon one. Because your woodwind instrument of choice should be the flute or oboe. 😉
Let’s call these changes Lifestyle Changes, because if you resolve this year to lose weight and then put on the weight again, you haven’t really gotten the point of the exercise (pun definitely intended). A lifestyle change means that you are steadfast to lose the weight and keep it off. I did that once, and I felt great. I was happy and healthy and then I injured myself and spent a year wallowing in self pity and then another year recovering from a long term chronic condition and now wishing I hadn’t spent two years eating and doing what I want because now I have to spend another year getting rid of the weight. (Run-ons can kill, kids.)
Today, I woke up and decided that I need to seriously consider the changes I need to make to my life. I keep using the words, “When I find time,” but in all honesty, it should be “I will make time.” And that’s the key to success in many areas of your life. Every self-help book talks about how you “make time” for whatever the topic is. Such as Make Time For You or Make Time to Fish or Make Time to Knit. There are far too many out there to name, and I’m already bored reading them all.
The issue is that no one has just that one thing they want to do, and it’s easy to just throw your hands up in the air and say fuhgeddaboudit! And then the resolve turns another broken promise to yourself. Been there, done that. It gets old fast.
So how do we make time?
List Your Priorities
Before we can even decide what it is you want out of this “make time for”, you need to figure out specifically what is important to you. My list will look something like this:
- Health & Fitness – if I don’t improve this fast, I won’t be around long enough for #2.
- Writing/Blogging – I need to write like I need breathing already, but I fail at spending enough time honing my craft. To a lesser extent, blogging goes with this.
- Reading – because if I don’t read, I’m not providing myself the tools to write.
- Friends – a little low on the list, but still something I should work on.
- Gaming – video and board games are kind of family time around my place too.
- Crocheting – because it’s calming.
Your list will look completely different to mine. You may find that as you list your priorities, you will be surprised by some of the things that come to mind. Now you have your list, as long as you want to make it. The next step is to list the things that you may spend too much time doing.
List Your Distractions
I have a lot of these, so my list can be fairly lengthy. I’m sure I’m not alone in this, either. Knowing your detractors helps you to find where your time deficit is. Some distractions cannot be helped or managed, so listing them may not mean you can do anything about them.
- Mobile Games – I play way too many too often. I fill the gaps of my life with it, and even spend time doing it while I’m watching stuff.
- World of Warcraft – this is separate to gaming, because it’s more of a time sink, and I spend hours on it some days when I should really only spend less than an hour a day tops.
- YouTube – I’ve gotten better at this one. Now I have it on in the background when I play WoW, but sometimes I spend hours watching crap after crap when I could spend that time doing anything else.
- Surfing – I spend a lot of time surfing the web for innocuous tidbits of information. Even worse is if I read an article of some kind, I may spend ages reading all of the comments.
- Social Media – separate from surfing, because it gives me even less information that I actually need. I actually open Facebook and Twitter on my phone around 20 times a day. That’s absolutely retarded.
- Watching TV – I watch shows, and I do not consider this wasting time, because it’s one of my joys. However, separate to that is just watching news and other stuff that lets me switch my brain off. During this time, I could be crocheting, but instead I watch and play on my phone at the same time. So much wasted time.
So these are the main culprits, and account for sometimes roughly 3-5 hours a day that I could be using for other things. I think it is important to keep some things going, but reducing the time that I spend doing this.
So now we know what we want to do, and what we do. Now it’s time to “make time” – this is not finding time, because we’ve already found it with our list of distractions.
Write a Schedule/Calendar
For me, I’m considering making a calendar and a schedule. After a while, the changes will become habits, and eventually the hope is that I will no longer need the schedule because the changes will be just like breathing, a necessity. Writing schedules soothes me, so I find that it helps a lot. But I am different from others, and your schedule or calendar making may just be notes plastered on your fridge or around your desk. Or a list may help. Whatever works for you.
Here’s a rough idea I have for my own:
I don’t count the weekends in my scheduling, but if I find that I end up with a lot of distractions on the weekend, then I will start looking at it. It makes more sense to schedule your work week, because you’re already on a set schedule for those days. That leaves the weekend to throw away your routined existence. 🙂
Nevertheless, from this point forward, my plan is to have a Tuesday and Friday blog post. My first series will be a continue on from one I wrote earlier this year, which was the best written movies per decade. It’ll start on Tuesday next week. This Friday, I’ll see how the schedule goes and see if there’s something further I should be adding to the mix.
Here’s to a lifestyle change, and not a “resolution!” 😉