Utter The Words

We say, “I don’t have time” when life gets busy or when we don’t want to feel guilty about skipping something: If we don’t have enough time to exercise, it’s easier for us to be okay with wheezing after climbing a flight of stairs. If we don’t have time to apply for new jobs and make new connections, it’s easier to accept staying in a job we despise. If we don’t have time to work daily on learning a new language, it makes it easier for us to say, “I’ll learn it eventually.” Starting today, that voice in your head is no longer allowed to utter the words: “I don’t have time.” Instead, the voice must use the phrase, “It’s not a priority.” Watch how quickly your perspective shifts when looking at life’s challenges this way: “I’d love to exercise, but I just don’t have time” becomes “exercising isn’t a priority.” “I’d love to learn a new language, but I don’t have time to practice” becomes “learning a new language isn’t a priority.” “I don’t have time to find a new job” becomes “finding a new job isn’t a priority.” Suddenly, the excuse of having no time gets redefined as “not a priority.”

“Level Up Your Life” by Steve Kamb

So far some of my New Year’s resolutions have been going well, and others have already fallen off track.

I don’t often tell myself that “I don’t have time,” but I do have my own flavours of this.

Perhaps my biggest one is what holds me back from going to the gym. Especially right now, because I’m expecting the gym to be busier than usual while people have yet to fall off their own New Year’s resolutions. And I tell myself “I don’t want to be seen.” I wonder how things will shift if I say “It’s not a priority.”

And then there’s two other flavours I can think of right now, though these appear to be a totally different category.

The past month, I’ve been watching a lot of TV with my family. We finished watching The Witcher and now we’re almost done watching The Crown. I don’t think I say anything to myself here. But I think this is a good opportunity to tell myself that “This is my priority.” Because then I can at least bring myself to decide my priority rather than have it automatically be.

Another thing I’ve caught myself doing is avoiding running because I know I have volleyball or badminton the next day or two. So I tell myself “I shouldn’t do this now because I’ll cramp up during volleyball or badminton.” What I’m doing here is suffering (future anxiety) over some artificial cause and effect I’ve set-up in my head. Running does not cause muscle cramping in my other sports; running without adequate cool down, stretching, and recovery can lead to muscle cramping. So instead, perhaps when I second guess myself out of running, I should start by telling myself “It’s not a priority” to remind myself of my priorities. Then after running, I should remind myself that cool down, stretching, and recovery are my priorities. One step at a time.

Mindfulness has been something I’ve been trying to keep front of mind for the last while. I think part of that which I’ve been missing out on has been intentionality. This is a good reminder for me to start practicing that as well.

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