So while you’re running around shopping taking advantage of those After Christmas sales, don’t forget about yourself. What meaningful gift can you give yourself? I’m not talking about giving yourself more stuff; I’m suggesting that you give yourself something much more precious… time. Yes, time. Take out your 2012 calendar right now and mark off some time in it for yourself (in ink) to take care of yourself before it’s filled up with requests, demands, and promises of others. Treat that time as sacred and consider it as a promise to yourself which you will not break!
Your Health and Sanity Is A Big Rock
Steven Covey talks about the importance of taking care of the most important first. He uses the analogy of filling a jar with rocks and things and equates that to filling up our lives with things (some important, others not so important). The big rocks represent the most important things in our lives that give us meaning, joy, and purpose. The small rocks, sand, and water represent the day-to-day duties, distractions, and things we spend our time on. He suggests that if you first fill the jar up with sand, water, and small stones, then it will be hard if not impossible to get the big rocks in later.
Put the Big Rocks in First
But, if you put the big rocks in first, then the pebbles, then the sand, then the water, you’ll be able to get a lot more in the jar. We all lead busy complicated lives and we’ve got to decide what our big rocks, pebbles, sand, and water are. One thing is for sure, your health is a big rock. Put it in first. In my life management system, I discuss 10 big rocks. They are discussed in my ‘On Track, On Fire, and On Purpose‘ book (see home page.)
Mark Off Time For Yourself Right Now!
Be proactive and take control. Don’t wait and don’t procrastinate. Mark off at least one day for yourself for each month. You need at least that amount of time to rest, reflect, and recharge yourself. Why not do it right now? Give yourself the gift of a day to relax, plan, read, pray, meditate, walk, hike, sing, dance, visit friends, get a massage, get a pedicure, or to just play. Relaxation and reflection are good for the mind, body, and soul. Out of 365 days, don’t you think you deserve at least twelve for yourself? This gift doesn’t cost you anything but does show how much you value yourself! And when you are refreshed and feel valued, you are happier, make better decisions, and are more productive.
Block of 1 Hour a Day
Now, if you really love yourself, set some goals for prayer, meditation, exercising, transforming your health, developing your talents and hobbies, and for a restful vacation. Still have your calendar out? Well, mark off a 3-hour block each week for planning and one hour each day for reflection. Consider your scheduled time as a promise and honor it.
You Can’t Live on Purpose by Accident
So now you’re on a roll. Schedule some meaningful time with your family or significant other and share the joy. We all want lives of meaning and purpose, but you can’t live on purpose by accident. You’ve got to plan for it. Once you get in the habit of planning, you’ll want to make sure you’ve put in the big rocks in for your mind, body, soul, service to others, career, money, home, family, hobbies, and relationships. And when you begin to see the importance of all of these, you’ll have no time to waste on insignificant things. Self awareness, self control, and self actualization, now that would be priceless!