Are you the type of person who thinks of everyone else before yourself? If you are, you probably don’t even realize it. Business owners are particularly prone to this trait. We have a responsibility to our team and our customers, and that can become a singular focus.
But when your weekly date night starts to become monthly, and your evening workouts are replaced with late night office hours, you might be putting yourself on the back burner–and that doesn’t help anyone.
Of course, important things come up over the course of a day, and juggling priorities always requires flexibility. However, if you want to be a top performer and do your best work, you need to optimize your capabilities. If you’re too tired or stressed, the people who are most important to you, whether it’s your employees or your family, won’t benefit from all you have to offer.
It may come as a surprise that when we neglect ourselves, we often neglect others. So, as your to-do list grows, remember your personal priorities. Use the following tips to ensure that you take care of yourself, so you can take care of others.
Divide and Conquer
We all make resolutions and set goals at the beginning of a new year, but lofty, generalized ideas won’t get you anywhere. To spark real improvement, set a specific goal for each key area in your life.
First, find out what those key areas are. Ask yourself: What can I not live without? Whether it’s your family, your business, or your house, you need to identify those things and figure out what area each one belongs to.
For example, to improve your family, set a goal for relationships; to grow your business, set a goal for your career; to hold on to your house, set a goal for finances.
Make the goals specific, actionable, and measurable, and make sure they apply directly to you.
Take it to Task
Setting goals isn’t helpful unless you create tasks that help you get there–you need to make a plan. If your health goal is to run a marathon by the end of the year, develop actionable tasks on a smaller scale.
Over time, those small steps will add up and lead to your large-scale goal. Maybe step one is to meet with a nutritionist, step two is to join a gym, step three is run one mile, etc.
Create tasks for your goals in each area.
It’s All Up to You
These goals are made for you and by you, and it’s up to you to see them through. One of the best ways to hold yourself accountable is to make your plans public. Tell people about your goals.
If your wife knows your goal is to spend more time with the family, you’ll be more likely to get home for dinner before the kids go to bed. When your friends know you’re working towards a goal, they can help talk you through challenges and celebrate achievements.
At the end of the day, you’re responsible for you. Try keeping your goals posted on your desktop so you see them each day, or set a reminder on your phone to complete a task to keep your goals top of mind.
Carve Out the Time
Set a deadline for each goal you hope to achieve, and then mark your calendar with individual tasks that lead to the goal. If you have a tendency to put others first, your time will quickly be filled with tasks that cater to the needs of others.
Be sure that time you set aside for yourself can’t be compromised. My team knows that events in red on my calendar are family items that cannot be moved.
Another practice I’ve adopted is to take one “Rejuvenation Day” each month. It’s a full day dedicated to me. I exercise, read, and reflect. Sometimes I even indulge. By setting aside time to achieve your goals, tasks become part of your daily routine, and you’ll find that you have fewer excuses not to take care of yourself.
The first step to taking care of yourself is recognizing that it needs to be done. Don’t discount your own value–make a point of maintaining your own well being. Give these tips a try. You’ll find that caring for others is much easier when you’ve taken care of you.