Question of the week: How are you spending your time?
It’s a question I’ve been asking myself a lot lately. We all have the same amount of time in a day, yet we spend it so differently.
Some of us go after our goals with everything we have but don’t stop to enjoy it, some of us dream bigger than our imagination but hardly put anything into action, and some of us go along with the path set out for us even if it’s not what we want. And there’s every other combination in between.
We all have less and less time as we get older. Are you wasting it? We need to be more conscious of the excuses we’re using and be more honest about what is holding us back. Only then can we move onto what makes us happier and keeps us fulfilled. We might not spend every day to its highest potential, but we can always do better, before it runs out.
Change can be unsettling. From leaving home for the first time to switching jobs to learning something new, change is unknown and uncomfortable.
I found out today that a colleague is moving on to another role. Not only am I coming to terms with the fact that I’ll be saying goodbye to a friendly face in the office, but it will mean taking on new responsibilities and adapting to a new workload. It’s unknown and uncomfortable for me – and I’m sure for my colleague too.
But change is also possibility, opportunity, destiny. It’s about new beginnings, making mistakes and learning from them. It’s where the magic glows and strength grows. We should always be changing, even if it’s just the little things like our route to work or morning routine. It keeps our minds active, receptive and thriving.
I’m going to be less afraid of it, and instead, embrace it.
Many of us are scared to be alone with our thoughts. We’re scared of what they might say and how they might make us feel. We’re so plugged in and invested in other people’s worlds, but neglect out own. Here’s three reasons to tune into what’s going on inside your head.
Reason One: Find solutions
When we listen to our thoughts and emotions, it’s likely that we’ll shed light on insecurities, anxieties and fears. But don’t be afraid. Instead of burying them away, we can actually face them and find ways to conquer them. We’ll see they’re not untameable. We’ll start to untangle the problems and find ways to overcome them.
Reason Two: Set direction
When we get in touch with our thoughts and emotions, we begin to understand where we want to go. Sometimes we wander aimlessly because we’re lost. Sometimes we find ourselves walking a path because we’re following someone else. We’re not really thinking about what we want and where we want to go. But if you actually do take the time to think and listen, and you follow what your heart is saying, you’ll never be steered wrong.
Reason Three: Realise who you are
When we tune into our thoughts and emotions, we drown out the noise around us and find out who we are. That might be someone who doesn’t care what people think. That might be someone who stands up for what they believe in. That might be someone who sees things differently. Whoever you are, you don’t need to lock them away. Find out what you like and don’t like, where you want to go and what you want to do.
(Image: Kreesha Turner)
Being honest is often daunting, but also liberating. Being honest with others and being honest with ourselves releases the weight of secrets, the pressures of pretence, and the tangles of a tale. We shouldn’t have to lie about who we are or what we do. It gets draining after a while, to the point where we can’t see a way out and life isn’t pleasant anymore. It might be daunting, but it’s true when they say that the truth will set you free.
Letting go of the past
It’s hard for us to forget our mistakes, and even harder for us to forgive ourselves. But whether we accept it or not, the past is done and dusted; it is written already. But that doesn’t mean the pen is out of our hands, that our story is already written. No, our story continues as long as we do. Whatever you do, don’t let it stop because of the past. There’s always time for a plot twist.
Following your heart
Don’t listen to others who tell you who to be, how to be, what to do, if you don’t agree. Whether it’s your family, your friends, your society, nobody has more power over you than you do. It’s exhausting trying to please everyone, meet their high standards, follow what is expected, because nobody’s outlook on life is the same. Nor should it be. Do you and be the best you that you can be. The rest will fall into place.
Tip One: Look inside
Sometimes we feel lost and look for guidance elsewhere. But ultimately, you’ll know what you want to do and who you want to be. And sometimes you’ll know how you want to get there. Sometimes we get distracted by other people’s plans for us and other people’s opinions about how our lives should be, often sold to us as their wisdom. But you should follow your own heart and instincts. And if you mess up, that’s ok – at least you’re being yourself and being true to who you are.
Tip Two: Stop comparing yourself to others
By all means, get inspiration from others and have role models to look up to. But remember that nobody’s path will be the same as yours and you’ll never be able to follow the footsteps of someone else. Comparing yourself with others will only highlight the flaws and gaps, that aren’t actually a bad thing. Forge your own path, take the road less travelled and focus on bettering yourself instead.
Tip Three: Take one step at a time
There may be loads of things you want to work on. Or maybe there’s just a couple. But you won’t change everything over night. Take your time and plan your time. Be realistic. Focus on one thing at a time and create a plan for it. Build a habit for one thing before incorporating something else. Don’t overwhelm yourself with lifestyle changes and restrictions and so on, because all it will do is push you back into the arms of your old self.
Sometimes we find it hard to set boundaries. We fall into bad patterns, succumb to bad habits, and end up blurring the lines. Sometimes we let our work lives encroach on our home lives. Sometimes we let our lack of confidence erase our record of successes. Sometimes we let people walk over us when we should be kicking them out our lives. But remember to keep maintaining those boundaries. They are what will keep us on the right track to happiness, what we want and what we deserve.
(Image: The Odyessey Online)
Don’t let anyone tell you what to do with your life. Don’t let anyone tell you what to do with your body. Don’t let anyone tell you what to do with your money. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not beautiful. Don’t let anyone tell you you won’t be successful. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do something. Don’t let someone tell you you’re smaller than them. Your life is your life. Your heart, your opinions, you passion, your voice should be the one you listen to above the noise of everyone else’s.
There’s an inherent need for us to fit in. But we’ll never be the same as each other, nor should we want to be. Let’s get comfortable with feeling different, feeling out of place, because we shouldn’t have to be anything but who we are and who we want to be. What sets us apart will get us much further than what blends in with everyone else. Make sure you embrace it.
Many of us make the mistake that happiness can be found in material things. But they’re pretty immaterial in the grand scheme of things. Rather it is our relationships and the people we surround ourselves with that has the biggest impact on our happiness. People can lift us up and comfort us when we’re down. People can see the greatness within us, even when we cannot see it ourselves. People can make us feel comfortable and confident enough to be ourselves. People can celebrate our successes with us and forgive our mistakes. Find the people who can do this for you. Because you deserve happiness and good energy around you.