In life, it is easy to fall into a habit of work, Netflix, eat and sleep. We lose time for ourselves, the people closest to us and our family. Most importantly we lose time for number one, ourselves. Saying that yourself is the most important isn’t selfish in the sense of caring for others, but it is selfish for one reason, and we have to do it.
Let’s look at what happens to a person when they aren’t selfish, while their actions and behaviours may seem to be all for them self usually it is for the end goal. The life of a house, picket fence, financial freedom, holidays, dream car, boat, family time and taking care of the other half. The problem is none of these desires or goals are a present focus, so it is easy to cut the “fat” of what doesn’t accumulate to this goal i.e. socialising, date night, etc. The behaviours leading to the goal will overwhelm the person with a lack of time, over-commitment, elevated stress and selfish (not the right kind) habits. We will get to the difference between good, selfish and bad but for now let’s focus on the goal-driven behaviour that we are all too familiar with.
To run over it simply, you work to pay for shit, the more we work, the more shit we tend to pay for and unless you are that 1% person that excels at an idea, job or lucky with the lotto; this will be your life. At 21 you are either finishing uni, your apprenticeship, working full time or going into a graduate degree; simplified but you get the point. You have your car, some of us chose a simple shitbox others chose to go for the fast and furious approach. Unless you have well off or generous parents, you are paying for this. The start of buying shit. Now the next goal comes in, it will be (generally) 1 of 3 things, job, relationship or travel. All of these things require more money. So we either buckle down to climb the ladder, socialise and grind out the hours or get 3 casual jobs for the flexibility and higher pay. Once again this is loosely put and does not apply to everyone.
Now let’s skip 10 years, and we will put aside those that have their shit together and those that fit into the above mentioned 1%. You are most likely looking at a mortgage, you are now upper-middle management, own your own business or just finished your degree because traveling put a pause on the adulting part of life. Now shit starts to get heavy, we have a mortgage, we have the bills that go with it, we have the nice car, we may have children or planning on it (we may not), we are trying to fit in a yearly holiday to escape the job we have to pay for the shit and the holiday to escape. What we don’t have is the time, but we do, we just don’t see it.
I chose this point as I have been here (it was at 27 but near enough). I had two mortgages, 3 businesses, two kids, cars, all the bills and was living the bad selfish. I was never available in my relationship, barely available as a parent, always stressed and using the wrong mechanisms to cope. Bad selfish, this is using one’s time for a goal that may exist in the future but is unlikely to exist because of the actions and behaviours we live. Why won’t this exist? Why won’t the dream come true? (once again there are exclusions, this is up to you to ask where you fit in).
It won’t work because simply put in a repetitive tone, you’re being selfish, bad selfish. You haven’t set yourself up to cope, succeed and ensure your health. How do we do selfish right? Don’t drop that end goal, the long dream, as much as I have slagged it off, it is important. The Long goal needs to include short term plans; like a cash flow and a P&L for a business the same needs to be made for our life. This can include the budget but it is more about self-accountability, putting our health (physical & mental) first and nurturing our relationships.
Let’s start with relationships. Friends, even for an introvert is an important part of health and wellness, they are probably the first we drop. We say no to every outing, we don’t message or call and then, the invites stop; that’s okay we don’t have time. Until we do and there is nothing to turn to, the connections are lost and we are no longer the friend they need or want. There is no villain here, just a sum of time + change = outcome. Nurture, even if we are tired or have work, go out, go over, drop a few messages; I am sure if you can look at social media for an hour a day a 5-minute phone call will go a lot further.
Partners. This is probably the easiest and most important relationship to neglect and nurture. The hard work of wooing is done, they are into you, they are there for you, but if you do not put maintenance into the bridge eventually it will rust, buckle and break. The maintenance is small, acts of kindness with the occasional biggy’s. The more you put into it, the more your bridge will be able to hold.
Health. Our body responds to the stimulus of stress, it causes a chemical change in our body and can be effective for deadlines and pressure response but it isn’t good long term, for anyone, period, ever. Like redlining your car for 45 minutes straight, you will burn out and crash (or blow up). How do we help our body? Small and consistent routines. Simple Stupid works great here.
Simple Stupid (SS) – this is anyone can do it and anyone can understand it.
Let’s start with a daily, 30-minute walk. Every day, no matter how tired we are, no matter our day, no matter what (i guess sickness can be the exception). You set this rule, it will become a part of you and the very least every day you are giving yourself, your life 30 minutes of nurturing. This is your unbreakable commitment. We aren’t looking at running 5ks, marathons, a HIIT workout or anything more, start with the walk. After six months of walks let’s add some gym or home workouts into the mix. Once again let’s keep it simple, stupid. A way we can do this is through a StrongFirst method called, Simple and Sinister. This is 15 minutes of training a day. Five minutes of kettlebell swings and 10 minutes of Turkish Getups. You now have 45 minutes a day for your health and fitness. Much like a savings account that you don’t withdraw from, the benefits will grow and grow. Your payout is increased over time with hormone regulations, a body that is not bad (food is needed to be watched here, but that is for another time), managed stress, bone density maintained and clarity for your headspace.
Be selfish, be the good selfish. If you are selfish every day your friends will thank you, your family will thank you, your work (end goal) will thank you and you will thank you.
45 minutes a day, take it for yourself.
by Trent Dolman