“People don’t decide their futures; they decide their habits, and their habits decide their futures.” -F.M. Alexandar
I love this quote and share it all the time with clients who struggle with consistency, follow-through, and “not enough time” to get everything done.
So often, we believe our issue is time management.
When you think about it, our time and energy are our most valuable resources.
Yet, if we’re being honest with ourselves, most of us just go through our days spending our time and energy, not investing.
There’s a clear difference between spending and investing. It’s an expectation of a return, an ROI on what we are investing in.
So, if you struggle with inconsistency and follow-through, here are 3 habits to help you take control of your time and energy.
I know, I know, not very sexy or exciting. But walk with me for just a bit on this one.
Let me ask you- How many times in the past year have you:
- Said yes to a new client or project when your calendar was already overbooked, and your stress level was through the roof (and your kids can’t remember what you look like)
- Work nights and weekends so you can (finally) catch up…and do it all again the next week…and feel guilty the whole time you’re doing it
- Put your self-care on the back burner even though you know it’s what feeds your energy and focus (and joy)
- Reached a goal and achieved success only to push yourself to strive for more, better, faster rather than celebrating and embracing the moment (say nothing about relaxing…)
- And how many of those times you ‘chose’ to push, strive, overbook, and put yourself on the backburner (again) would you have chosen differently if you had paused (for 2-minutes or 20) to play that “opportunity” out to the end game– the tradeoff you were making by saying yes?
Your Pause is what fuels your push.
It also strengthens your tenacity in taking back control of your time, your energy, and your sanity.
Kinda sexy now, huh?
✊🏽 Power to the Pause…
P.S. A pause can be simply taking a breath before responding, scheduling 30 minutes on your calendar to ponder an opportunity vs. distraction, or taking a few days, weeks, or months to gain clarity and make an intentional choice.
The key is to disrupt the automatic response that is not serving you.
I don’t know about you, but there have been countless times I chose to continue a habit that did not serve me, continue to get the result I didn’t want…and wonder what the hell was going on.
Gotta admit, that’s an exhausting cycle to be in.
When I decided to pause and PONDER ( i.e. look at the trigger that had me choosing the ‘easy’ way out and getting results I did not want)….I was able to peer through a different lens, and discover the point, the trigger, that had me take the habitual action each time.
One simple example of this for me is my morning yoga habit.
Now, I admit I am not a fan of yoga. It is not something I look forward to. Yet, I do know just 15 minutes five days a week keeps my body feeling strong, healthy, and flexible, especially given the number of hours I sit in front of a screen each day.
The problem was that I’d choose something that was more interesting or fun to do (like sit and read a book…) rather than take action and get on the mat to stretch.
I was stuck in a cycle of what behavioral economists call time inconsistency: we value the present more than the future. Meaning the reward is in the moment (avoiding an activity I don’t like), but the cost is in the future (stiff back, achy hips, etc.).
I chose the reward in the moment of NOT doing my morning yoga routine. The cost was in the future, so it was easy for me not to think about it or minimize the impact IN THE MOMENT.
After months of struggling, I decided to lean into my habit of pause (even for just a few seconds) each morning when I’d think to myself, “Ugh, I’ll do it tomorrow,” and take a moment to ponder the outcome of each choice, the result of my action or inaction. It was a split second of connecting my future self to my present self that I was able to choose the ‘cost’ (15 little minutes of yoga) in the moment for the reward of a healthy and happy back and mind in the future.
Pause for just a few seconds in the moment (it really doesn’t have to be a long pause).
Ponder what the outcome will be for you in a week, month, or year if you choose action or inaction.
Is it moving you closer to your goal? If not, it’s moving you further away because time is a non-renewable resource. Make sure you’re investing it, not freely spending it
Nike was onto something when they came up with the tagline, “Just Do It.”
At some point, we’ve all spent time avoiding a task/to-do/priority that we know we need to get to, but it seems too big, too uncomfortable, or too unexciting, sooo, we continue to kick that can down the road, then feel frustrated with ourselves and our situation.
Heads up, this can easily consume your confidence and self-trust because of your lack of follow-through.
All that avoiding consumes your energy, focus, and productivity. And let’s admit– joy.
A friend was recently telling me about a phone call to a lawyer that she needed to make but kept putting off. It had the potential to be a big and uncomfortable conversation. She felt agitated, disappointed, and frustrated with herself. She started questioning what was wrong that she didn’t ‘just do it” because it was ‘just a phone call.” This call had the ability to positively impact her and her family’s future in a big way, yet, it was uncomfortable.
I asked her to think about 3 months from now and what it would feel like if she hadn’t made the call.
That Pause and Ponder– approximately 30 seconds– was exactly what she needed to proceed confidently into action. The thought of having this ‘action’ (aka, inaction) consume her mind and energy for 3-months was far more uncomfortable than deciding to pick up the phone, move through it, and feel GOOD about herself (and her future).
A phone call is simple, right? Yes, but that doesn’t mean easy, and this is where we can really get tripped up.
Simple doesn’t always equate to easy, and this is where the second-guessing of self comes in– we get stuck on spin cycle, consuming our mind, time, and most definitely energy.
P.S. Don’t fool yourself, indecision, aka inaction, is a decision.
Pause- don’t react immediately
Ponder– think critically about what’s going on
Proceed– trust yourself to do the ‘thing’ without overthinking
3 simple habits…does not necessarily equate to 3 easy habits.
Show yourself some compassionate curiosity as you explore this new way of BEing present while simultaneously BEing future-focused.
If the only thing you take away from this is to implement the habit of Pause, things will start to change, and you will start to take control of your non-renewable resource, time, and, especially, your energy.
Ready to be more effective with your time and energy but still need some support and a strategy to get you there? Book a complimentary clarity call here. Let’s get you moving into aligned action.