Time is generally the one thing we all wish we had more of and it is usually the one thing we use as an excuse for not doing X, Y, or Z.
“I just don’t have time to exercise”. I’m too busy to get together”. “I’d love to help but I just don’t have the time.” Unfortunately, spending time on things that improve our lives generally fall by the wayside; physical health, spiritual health, mental health, and relationships.
Where does time go? Where do we find the time? IS there MORE time, enough time? We’ve all heard that we all get the same 24 hours in a day. Are others just better at budgeting their time? Of course, some people have a ton of free time and others have super tight schedules: kids, kids’ activities, businesses to run, jobs, home ownership…the list goes on.
Can you be the best mom or dad, the best boss, the best spouse, the best employee, the best friend if you don’t make the time to work on yourself? Life is about balance. It can’t be, “I wish I had time to…” We HAVE to make time to work on ourselves, to live a balanced life, to be happy. And we have to be OK with taking that time for ourselves. You can’t feel guilty about spending time exercising, praying, going for a walk to clear your head, journaling, reading, meal prepping, or having a date night without the kids.
For most of us who are busy, this means that we have to plan, prioritize, and look for ways to maximize our time while minimizing the things that suck away the valuable time we have. Does getting up at 4:30am suck? Generally. But if that is the only time that you have to run or work out and you don’t take advantage of it, you are cheating yourself. You are shaving years off of your life. Would I rather sit with my kids after work instead of hitting the gym? Absolutely. I’d love to have the entire night with them to snuggle on the couch, read a book, watch a movie, and talk about their days. But I want more than one night. I want years of being healthy so that I can snuggle on the couch with my grandchildren. So I sacrifice. I make the time to work on my health and fitness. Getting up early to run in the bitter cold isn’t always fun, but it ALWAYS worth it.
We have to have a “WHY” that is bigger than any excuse we have for not doing the things we need and want to do. New York Times bestselling author Matthew Kelly wrote a book called Resisting Happiness: A true story about why we sabotage ourselves, feel overwhelmed, set aside our dreams, and lack the courage to simply be ourselves…and how to start choosing happiness again. Kelly defines resistance as that “sluggish feeling of not wanting to do something that you know if good for you. It’s the inclination to do something that you unabashedly know if not good for you, and it’s everything in between. It’s the desire and tendency to delay something that you should be doing right now.”
He says that resistance is an enemy that you never defeat. You and I battle resistance every day. “Should I get up or hit the snooze button”? “I’ve had a long day, maybe I should just go home instead of hitting the gym.” Kelly says that resistance wears a thousand masks: laziness, procrastination, fear, doubt, instant gratification, self-loathing, indecision, escapism, pride, self-deception, friction, tension, and self-sabotage. He writes, “We resist all sorts of things for all sorts of reasons. But perplexingly, it usually comes down to this: We resist happiness. It’s perplexing because at the same time we have an insatiable desire for happiness.”
Does any of this sound familiar? Just like Kelly says in his book, I’ve been resisting happiness my whole life too. And I bet you have too. One example for me is waking up early to pray. When I do this, my whole day is better. It is almost a given. But more often than not, what do I do? I hit the snooze button. I look back and can’t believe that I chose an extra 30 minutes of sleep over something that I KNOW makes me happy. Resistance for the win. And don’t get me started on the time suck of social media…
What are some ways to make the time to do what makes you happy? How can you stack the deck in your favor in the battle against resistance?
- For a day or a week, write down all of the times you encountered resistance and who won the battle.
- Write down 3-5 activities that truly make you happy.
- Identify your three best habits. And write down the habits you need to change.
- We are all born dying. We have no idea how much time we have left. Don’t waste a day.
- Take time to reflect on your own mortality. If you were to die today, reflect on what you wish you had done differently.
- Set short and long term goals. Make the goals bigger than any form of resistance that you are sure to encounter.
- Practice discipline. I’ve said this before. There is NO hack. You’ve got to wake up and get after it.
- Be gentle with yourself and with others. You aren’t going to win every day. And, as Kelly writes, everyone you’ll ever meet is fighting a hard battle. He says, the “next time someone is upsetting you, frustrating you, annoying or ignoring you, take a deep breath and recognize that she is fighting a hard battle. Allow the gentleness of your humanity to rise up within you, and act with compassion.”
Remember that resistance is a liar. Resistance likes to keep you busy doing anything other than the one thing that will help you grow.
The time is there to do the things that will make you healthy, happy, whole. The time is there to become the person God made you to be. Need a mentor? Get a mentor. Need a coach? Get a coach.
Get up every day, put on your armor, grab your sword, and slay resistance. Go home, lick your wounds, get a good night’s rest.
Wake up. Repeat.
– Coach Eric