Dec 27th, 2013
Author: alex kuhn
Recently, I met a mother (2 children) who has a goal of losing 30 pounds. On top of her full-time job as a mom, she also works 36 hours/week as a nurse, is a member of the school board, and has hopes of attending night school. You could imagine that her greatest challenge is finding the time necessary to achieve her health goals. But isn’t this a common challenge for any parent? When will you find the time to plan your meals? Should you join a gym or find a way to workout at home? These questions can not only be challenging, but even worse, demoralizing. With that in mind, I have a list of three questions below that you should start asking yourself. These questions will help you generate the necessary motivation needed to keep pressing forward while also finding more time in your week.
Why is it necessary that I lose weight and lead a healthier life? When we have a goal, it’s very simple to start writing out your plan. Plans are good, but Motivation is even better! With 2014 around the corner, there will be many people around the country who will write down what their goals are and never look at them again. To truly build the necessary “emotional motivation” that will allow you to achieve your goals, it’s important to start asking yourself this question each and everyday. In fact, a great way is to ask yourself the very first thing in the morning. Perhaps one day your reason is because you saw jeans at your favorite store that you truly want to buy. Another day, perhaps you desire to be a healthy role model for your kids. But no matter what the answer, it has to be important to you!
How long am I spending on each activity? Whether you have a smartphone or daily planner, many of us fill up our schedule with meetings, appointments, tasks…and if there is space, we have to find a reason to fill it up! As a parent, there is an innate desire to fill up our calendar because…how could you give yourself a break? However, the truth is for many of us, we never accomplish everything we want. I constantly here the following; “I had so many things I wanted to accomplish, but it feels like I didn’t accomplish anything.” At this point, it’s very easy to beat yourself up and feel like a time management failure. The reality is that for many of us, we don’t have a firm grasp of how long activities take to complete. For example, while you may have scheduled 1 hour to get your kids ready for school, it may actually take 1.5 hours. One simple, yet effective time management exercise is to start timing your daily activities. After one or two weeks, you’ll have a much better idea of 1) How long it will take you to complete daily routines, and 2) Find places in your day and week to save time!
Who can help take some of the load off of me? The word “help” has more meaning than just, as Webster Dictionary puts it, “to give assistance or support.” For some of us, to ask for help is to “burden” someone with our problems. To ask for help is to “bother” someone with our tasks. The truth is that asking for help is really a difficult thing for some people. If this sounds like you, I encourage you to start keeping a notebook of ways you have helped someone else. The purpose is NOT to use it as a way to blackmail someone into helping you! The hope is that you see how good you feel when you help someone. One of the most gratifying actions a person can take is to help someone, especially when it’s followed up with a sincere appreciation for their help. With the second question above, you should have a good barometer of what you are doing on a weekly basis. Can your children help around the house with specific chores? Are there better ways you and your partner can share the workload? Are there extra costs (ex. cleaning services) that you can afford AND help you save some time? CEO’s are constantly delegating responsibilities to their teams. So why not you?
For the busy parent who “browsed” the main section and cut to the end, here is a quick synopsis: 1) Stop planning and start motivating yourself on a daily basis. You will always be busy, but the more motivated you are, the more likely you find a way to achieve your goal. 2) Track the number of hours you are spending on activities each day. Find ways to be more efficient with your time. 3) Ask for help. There are items on your to-do list that can be accomplished by your kids, partner and friends.