Most of us have made a new year's resolution in the past, with varying levels of success. Let’s take a look at the 5 most common ones, and discuss tips and tricks for making them stick.
1) Stay fit and healthy
2) Lose weight
3) Enjoy life to the fullest
4) Spend less and save more
5) Spend more time with family and friends
You could argue that if you managed your time better, you could achieve all of these at the same time. Often the path to success is described as developing a sound work-life balance, which is often interpreted as- ‘I need to work less’.
I am one of those people that made this resolution 1 year ago. And where did it get me? I work at least 50 hours per week, I often get compliments about my dedication to my job, but I also receive comments like- ‘you need to live a little’ ‘you don’t have much life in your work life balance’. Despite what others may perceive, I still feel like I have made progress on achieving a work life balance that suits me, and here’s why.
Imagine your week as a pie chart (yes, I love numbers and charts). One week has 168 hours. Most people spend less than 25% of that time working, based on a 40 hour work week. If you don’t enjoy your work, you need to weigh up the pros and cons of spending 25% of your life doing it. For me, work provides me with growth opportunities, a purpose, and stability. I thrive on these things and they make me feel fulfilled, so I am happy spending 30% of my time doing it. If you get 8 hours sleep a night, that’s 35% of your week. An hour to get ready for work, an hour for the commute each day, an hour for dinner and an hour to get ready for bed accounts for a further 17%. This leaves 38 hours per week to work out, run errands, or for recreation. You can allocate the SAME AMOUNT OF TIME to work as you allocate to things you CHOOSE to do. Based on this, ‘I don’t have time’ is very rarely a valid excuse. If it is important to you, you will make time for it.
In order to make the most of this time, you need to prioritize. You could spend 5 hours watching Netflix, or you could spend that 5 hours working out. You could spend 2 hours browsing in shops, or 2 hours having meaningful conversation with a close friend. It is what we choose do with this time that defines how happy and fulfilled we feel, and how we perceive our work life balance. You can often get more value from these choices if we prioritize foundation habits, ones that will have a positive impact on other aspects of your life. For example prioritizing fitness can also have a follow on effect to improve your nutrition, sleep and mental focus. Foundation habits are a great place to start if you are considering making significant lifestyle changes.
In order to embed these priorities in your life, you need to schedule them in. This may seem like a very basic concept to point out, but YOU get to DESIGN your schedule, with all your FAVOURITE things in it. Define exactly what these things are, and be specific. What exactly are you going to do, how much time are you going to allocate to it? For example, if your goal is to improve your fitness, you could allocate 3 hours per week for the gym. Once you have specific actions to work with, put them in your schedule. Your schedule should include all the things you want to do, including a means to earn the finances you need to support it. If there is something in there that you don’t enjoy, ask yourself why you put it in your schedule!
With a little bit of thought, you can design your resolution to be realistic and effective. Decide that 2017 is going to be an incredible year, and create a schedule you love.
About the Author; Allie Higgs Personal trainer at Whistler Creek Athletic Club - Strength and conditioning Coach