You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.
This proverbial sentence is often used to describe a bit frustrating situation when you can present someone with an opportunity, but you cannot force him/her to take advantage of it. I sometimes feel that way when talking to a client for the second/third/fourth/etc. time - about the same issue.
Now, discussing the same issue/topic again is not really a problem as long as something changed meanwhile. In such a case we can check it from a new perspective, new angle or with new details to pay attention to - even if only one small step was done in the right direction.
This process often includes changes not only inside our deepest Self, or different energy fields of ours, chakra fields, etc. but also on/in our environment - our body, our lifestyle, people we are surrounded by (with an emphasis on avoiding "bad company"), setting priorities in/of/for our life, etc.
Recently I asked my regular clients what are their top three priorities to be explored or solved, whether they will work on it alone, through my programs or groups, individually with me, or even with someone else. Although there were like dozen important topics here I will discuss top three issues from that survey (that were presented in various forms and shapes):
Perception of time
At the moment the vast majority of my clients are women so I often hear / read something like this:
"Do you know how it feels to work whole day, get home exhausted, fix something for dinner, play with kids, maybe even clean up around the house a little bit - and then sleep until the next day just to repeat it all over again? I'm not feeling so much like an empty bag every day, yet it goes up and down. I often feel like I'm pushing myself harder than I can manage."
This is a typical response from some of my readers as to what's stopping her or him from whatever they want in their life: build a business, lose some weight, gain some muscle, learn a new skill, enjoy their hobbies, travel the world, meet new people, find a partner, etc. Well, I know you have been there before in your life, at one point or another. Yet somehow it seems you simply can not find the time.
Often, people do plan for these activities in advance and put it in their calendar, yet somehow equally often skip it. For example, maybe you have planned in advance and assigned a time slot for exercise in the evening. That's great, but more often than not you are already too tired as you have already worked for eight (or more) hours that day and you clearly need some time for yourself. And you are not alone, below is an e-mail from one of my clients:
Now, you can really manage to do it, yet it seems like constant struggle. So maybe you should test the idea first and do it in different parts of the day: in the morning, in the evening, right after your work, etc. Then you will find a time slot that really fits your lifestyle, and is in line with your preferences - whether you are a night owl or an early bird.
According to some research, it seems that people that practice morning workouts are more consistent as there is less chance of it being cancelled later in the day.
Aside from physical exercise, as the general rule you might consider this: if in doubt, do it first. Whatever might be the reason (or excuse) for you to skip what you should be doing (and procrastinate) due to the one reason or the other - do it first (in the morning, or in the session, etc.)
Suppose you are having similar challenges as described above, maybe you are not sure how to change all there is to change in order to fit some time for exercise (or whatever you want to have time for). Welcome to the club, I have been there as well! Now, you can say you are tired after you come home from work and also you can hardly focus on anything for a long time as there's e-mail, Facebook, kids, chores, etc.
But, look behind that: what's the real problem? It is certainly not easy to focus on exercise (or almost anything else for that matter) and do it properly to get the results you want when you are really tired after work and doing it half-hearted. It's a fact of life, regardless of how hard you try.
Instead of making many small changes, closing Facebook account, etc. you could make just one change that would probably solve the situation: just make time to workout in the morning, before going to work while you are still fresh and focused. You can start slowly and gradually increase morning workout (or whatever is your interest here).
Sure, you will still be tired after work but since this important thing was done in the morning, you could enjoy in the afternoon doing whatever you want to do - including but not limited to Facebook, socializing and watching TV.
Really, what alternative do you have? You could procrastinate, say to yourself that you will take just a little break, and eventually get to workout / exercise later on in the day. Then maybe you get on your computer and start reading the Facebook feed from your friends, maybe watch a part or two of your TV show, and spend some time with your partner.
That's all fine, of course, but time flies and suddenly it's getting late so you will skip the workout - just that day, again. You get to the bed and strange thoughts start flying through your mind, making you nervous, anxious, depressed and feeling guilty like:
"I can not do this, I am not disciplined enough."
"I will never lose weight this way, maybe I need some pills?"
"I will never gain muscle this way, maybe I need some steroids?"
"I hate my body, I am too skinny / obese."
Day after day, similar thing happens and there is always some good / convenient / credible reason why you missed your workout that day: still, you feel helpless stuck in the endless loop that you just do not know how to get out of. Last but not least: how can you have quality sleep then and get rest for the next day? Not as easy as it should be.
This was happening to me and many people I know on many different occasions: about my training, business, family affairs or some unpleasant chores. For sure, you are not an exception - rather a rule. This obviously is not really an alternative to regular training (or whatever is important to you) scheduled for the morning hours as suggested above.
This is about important stuff in your life. Get a piece of paper or open a spreadsheet and write important areas of your life, for example:
- personal growth;
Maybe you are having a job and working full-time yet starting some business on the side. Suppose your business is to be a personal trainer yet for the time being you work as a store clerk (and do not like it at all). That's all fine and imagine your goal is just like some billboard way down some road: from this distance you can see it's there but can not clearly recognize what's the image and read what's written there. Let's call it Step Three for now.
Closer down the road, you can see some restaurants, motels, gas stations, etc. yet none of these is there just for the sake of it. They serve the customers, travelers - and that is you. Let's call this Step Two.
Then there's you, your car and stuff you need to take care of if you want to travel safely and comfortably like check the engine, tires, oil, gas, etc. This is really about things you do now, or will start doing any time soon. Obviously, this is Step One.
Here's one of the recent sheets I did on my side while having Skype session with a client: at first, she had just four areas of her life filled. Later we added some more for a meaningful life (for her, or course). And yes, even this extremely simple and almost unreadable piece of paper can help - at least as a draft for the start.
Having the big picture in mind (or in writing: on a paper or in a spreadsheet) you can decide on what to do now, what to do next and how to reach the goal you had in mind and can see as that billobaord far away down the road. At the same time that big picture has some sections and that can be viewed in two ways:
- a success in one area has nothing to do with the success in other area;
- a success in one area has everything to do with the success in other area.
I will explain how I mean it. Ideally, you are doing fine in all areas important to you. At other times, one area (or more) can be blocked or stalled or simply not as you would like it to be. Let's say you have a job (or career as mentioned above) that is far from what you would like to do (business as mentioned above) but gives you solid regular income.
At one level, that section (job and career) might be a source of frustration as you would rather be elsewhere or work on your business. Equally, success in that area (whatever you see it and measure it) seems to have little or nothing to do with your health, for example.
At another level, that dreadful job is allowing you to gain some experience, money, contacts, ideas, etc. so when you get to work on your business you will have much greater chance of success. That way having big picture in mind you control the situation, and happines level in your life.
Let's get back to the example before, and presume you also have no job at the moment - yet you need one as you have no other means to support yourself. How could these three steps look like:
- Step Three - a long way down the road: full-time personal trainer;
- Step Two - closer down the road: full-time job and part-time personal trainer;
- Step One - just down the road: full-time job and some-time personal trainer;
- Step Zero - right now: look for the job and have a hobby as personal trainer.
Yeah, for some people three steps are enough, yet other need four: it's not relevant. The key point here is focusing mostly on immediate activities that make sense (Step Zero if needed, then Step One) in a wider image (Step Two) and your own big picture (Step Three). Feel free to adjust these steps / phases to your situation and interests.
General idea (Step Three) and then road to there (Step Two) need a clear list of tasks / activities / actions to do (Step One) so you simply have a starting point. Goals, ideas, plans, new things, etc. can be reached faster with a simple individualized action plan, made by you for you.
Perfect action plan, the one that you create and work through in order to get a desired result. It is a fine way for you to store your goals / ideas / plans into one simple plan that you can work through and achieve, by keeping focused on what the goals are and working hard on reaching them.
There are many good articles written on this topic so instead of repeating I offer a few links:
- How to Create an Effective Action Plan
- Developing an Action Plan
- Small Scale Planning
- Action Plan Templates
- Create an Action Plan Now
Well, a common denominator of the previous three points is one topic that deserves honourable mention: procrastination. Many books and articles (like this one, for example) are written on how to deal with it so I will write nothing new here - just a reminder of the obvious. So, how to overcome procrastination?
In most cases I can help you SEE, READ and CHANGE something that is important to you at that moment - but for the long run, you need to work on it as well. Stop procrastinating and make that last step: drive it (meaning an issue, solution, idea, concept, etc.) from mental images through emotional (and other) energy fields and finally do the right earthly-real-life activities: plan and execute.
Or keep looking through rose-colored glasses and chasing that proverbial carrot on a stick (donkey rarely really gets the carrot).
Meditation music: discover / determine your top priorities
I've made a meditation music for this specific issue in order to help you discover your top priorities, if not clear yet. Meditate (or just sit and relax) as usually, put this music in the background (or headphones, or however you like - it's not that important) and see what images, emotions and/or sensations will emerge. Then deal with them accordingly, solve that situation; apologize if needed; do something if needed, etc.
To listen, just click on it; if you want to save it, right click on it and press "Save As ..." or whatever similar.