“Invest in myself? Are you kidding me? I have no time!” I know I’ve said this many times over and over to myself. Everyone is busy taking care of multiple responsibilities, all at once. Sometimes it feels like we are running on a wheel or treadmill of life, constantly going, with no time to invest in ourselves.
And now, here I am telling you that you should invest in yourself. I had an interesting, little epiphany the other day, when I was feeling frustrated about the lack of time that I had, and how I had used that as an excuse to continue writing my new book, Evolving Achievements.
Then, what popped into my head, was the 10% rule on investments. The golden rule is to always pay yourself first. Pay yourself first, pay yourself first….the message never grows old. And the rule works. Almost everyone is able to save some amount of their pay cheque, even if only a few bucks. So, I thought, could we not apply this rule to our personal goals, even if we are really busy women?
I don’t think we really have a choice. I once read in one of Bob Proctor’s books, that time is never the real barrier behind achieving our goals. The real issue is our failure to prioritize our time effectively.
So, how can we all use our time more effectively? A mentor recently reminded me that the most successful people became that way because they learned to break down their large goals into small tasks that could be done on a daily or weekly basis, in such a way that those tasks never interfered with the rest of their life.
I can remember several years ago, I was in Edmonton at one of Dan Poynter’s book publishing seminars. There was a lady in her early 40’s who was so determined to complete her book that she woke up at 4am every morning before work, and wrote until 5:30am. Then, she went to the gym to exercise before heading off to work. I remember asking her why she didn’t pursue her workouts in the evening (assuming 4am was too early), and she said that early in the morning was the only ‘quiet’ time where she could fully concentrate. How’s that for self-discipline, and more importantly, finding a habit
So, how will you find time in your schedule to work on the things that are most important to you? Will it be early in the morning? Do you have time between running errands, or while waiting to meet a friend or colleague? What could you do on your lunch break? One thing that has worked wonders for me, is simply making to-do lists all the time, and thinking or planning ahead about what I will do in my next block of time, whenever that might be. A lot of time gets wasted simply thinking about what to do next.
Another realization that I continually experience over and over again, is how it is a necessity to invest in yourself first. I can remember one weekend, having a major work assignment to prepare for, having two social obligations to attend, an entire house to clean, and a few appointments that I couldn’t miss. I was feeling a bit stressed out, and then I reminded myself about the importance of taking care of myself. So, each morning, I was up an hour earlier to workout, and then, I came home and gave myself time to write – something that gives me absolute joy, and fills up my ‘buckets’. That joy, that energy and vitality carried itself all the way through to all the other tasks that I needed to finish that weekend.
The point then, is to think of investing in yourself, as just that, – an investment. Don’t look at the achievement of your personal goals and habits as a chore, because those activities are what fill you up with expansive, positive energy, and drive you to maintain an excellent attitude and vigour in everything that you do.
Here’s an excellent exercise that I’d suggest. Pull out a sheet of loose leaf paper. Make a list of all the small time blocks that could possibly be used to work on some of your important goals. Identify some times when you could truly get yourself into the habit of working on the pursuits that are most meaningful to you. This will ensure that your achievements continue to evolve as opposed to desolve.
Cheers to your success! that works.
What is it?
What is a personal improvement review? A personal improvement review involves you reflecting back on your past and outlining in detail every single achievement, improvement, or positive effort that you’ve put forth in your life. I personally recommend doing this every three months, or possibly every six months. The more often you do this, the greater your chances for accelerating your life success and satisfaction.
I’ve focused on the word “improvement” instead of “achievement” because achievements consist of many improvements and efforts that build upon each other over time. If I asked you to only outline your achievements, you might feel a bit disheartened because you didn’t accomplish everything that you’d hope for.
The truth however, is that you’ve probably taken many deliberate efforts and steps to turn your dreams into reality. Although you might not see the final tangible outcome (if there is one), you must train yourself to all of the small or large amounts of time, energy, resources and efforts that you’ve invested into your goals. Those investments deserve to be noticed, celebrated or at least acknowledged in a positive manner.
Don’t simply wait for the grand finale when your entire goal is realized. This could take many days, weeks, months, years, or even a lifetime. It’s best to congratulate yourself on the mini-steps you’ve taken, and all the learning lessons that occurred along the way. After all, with each learning lesson, you’ve moved yourself closer toward your goals.
Who is it for?
Who is the personal improvement review for? Anybody who is completely serious about enhancing their personal growth, continuously improving their life satisfaction, along with achieving their life goals should be reflecting back on their personal improvements and achievements.
What are the benefits to doing to a personal improvement review?
- Enhanced self-esteem. When you see how far you’ve come and how much you have invested in yourself, you can’t help but feel good about who you are. You’re essentially telling yourself that you’re worth it!
- Realization of how intelligent you are. When you reflect back and understand just how much you’ve learned, you feel a sense of relief that you haven’t been remaining stagnant, and that you are actually moving forward, and closer to your goals.
- Increased locus of control – you begin to see the correlation between your personal actions and the outcomes in your life, even if those outcomes are simply learning lessons
- Gives you a reason to ‘celebrate’ or to do something positive for yourself
- Increased motivation to stay persistent in working toward your goals. Therefore, you are less likely to feel discouraged, and give up because you don’t see the final outcome that you are looking for
- Learn from your successes what is actually working, so that you can continue doing more of it. Learn from your mistakes so that you can identify what areas of your life require sharpening.
If you never reflect back on your life performance, how will you know what areas of your life are improving, and, if you are improving, how will you get a better sense of how you’ve improved? You might even find patterns of strengths or weaknesses developing. For example, I knew a woman who made such great strides in her career when she opened up her own business, but as a result her health suffered drastically. Within a year, she had gained over 25 pounds as a result of stress eating. She also had high blood pressure, and was diagnosed with diabetes. Even though her bank account had grown in dollars, her weight had grown, and her health suffered. Imagine if she had sat down, and done a review of her performance in each area of her life? Perhaps she could have nabbed this weakness as soon as she gained five or ten pounds, compared to the 25 pounds.
Likewise, I once had a client who was achieving many of his travel and leisure goals, but it happened all at the expense of his savings, and he wasn’t ok with this. He was able to nip this one quickly, when he sat down and took the time to actually reflect on the negative consequences to his net worth.
Often times, we know what is working and what isn’t. We know what is going well, and what isn’t. However, unless we sit down to strategically think about all the different areas of our lives, and how our actions or lack of actions are affecting us, nothing truly sinks into our brains, and we don’t do anything about it. If you haven’t already, you’ll want to get into the habit of consistently evaluating how far you’ve come with your goals in each area of your life. Overtime, you can’t help but get better. Wherever attention goes, energy flows, and then the results will start showing up.
I recommend pulling out your evolving achievements binder, and starting a new section just for your personal improvement reviews. Start one page to list all your improvements and achievements, and start another page where you’ll list what didn’t go so well. It is beneficial to examine all areas of your life, including health/wellness, finances, career, leisure, personal growth, relationships and spirituality.
Some people prefer to evaluate their success by the area of their life, or some simply brainstorm all their achievements on the same page. If you choose this latter approach, you may even wish to go back and the organize your achievements by life area. You could even formalize the process further, by typing it up on your computer and printing if off. Organize yourself however you’d like. As long as you do the exercise.
Complete your personal improvement review preferrably in an inspiring, uplifting, or comfortable environment, one that also gives you enough privacy so that you can fully concentrate on reflecting back. One of my friends James, checked himself into a nice hotel in his home city, so that he could celebrate the entire process of not only documenting his improvements and accomplishments, but also so that he could celebrate the fact that he was even doing the actual exercise! To this day, James is one of the most successful people that I know, – both financially and in terms of pursuing what he is most passionate about. I’ve seen him make dramatic improvements and changes in his life, all for the better.
Good luck getting started!