Appreciate the life you are living and achieve more through EnerG coach, Ellen Goldman. Your questions on balance, motivation and your lifestyle are answered through these simple tips and solutions. Get more out of your life with the help of Identity.
Question: I started my own business around three years ago. I’m doing very well, and pleased with the growth and progress. However, lately I am finding myself feeling isolated, exhausted, and not nearly as happy as I expected to be. I work out of a home office, and seem to be working 24/7. I don’t know how it got like this, and I don’t know how to change it. There always seems to be one more task to complete, and no time for anything but work. Help!
Answer: It’s easy to get so wrapped up in nurturing and growing your own business, that the rest of life slips away. Especially when you work from a home office, and the boundaries between home and work get blurred. First, begin to analyze where you want to take your business in the future. If you keep growing, and you are currently doing everything yourself (bookkeeping, marketing, servicing clients, etc.), it’s time to get some help. Perhaps a virtual assistant or a college student can pick up some of those tasks. Next, failure to plan means planning to fail! Create a consistent, systematic approach to your time. Prioritize your tasks, plug them into your calendar, and keep to the schedule. Getting involved with a networking group, an occasional lunch out with a best friend, or a group exercise class, will help you to feel less isolated. Lastly, put self-care and time-out on your calendar as if it were a business appointment. Remember, if you fall apart, so will your business, because you are the business!
Question: My life has gotten to be so crazy, busy. I fall into bed each night exhausted, and frustrated by all I still need to get done. And although I haven’t stopped for a minute, I don’t even know what I really accomplished. How do I get off the roller coaster and start enjoying my life?
Answer: As strange as it may seems, the answer lies in slowing down and taking a break. You need to spend some time evaluating what you are really doing with your time. Is it filled with getting accomplished the things that truly are important to you, or is it life’s urgencies sapping your time and energy. First, take a couple of days to write down what you are doing from hour to hour. You can easily do this by keeping a small memo pad with you. Are there minutes wasted answering phones, checking emails, running to do chores in between work projects? Are some of the items things you’ve said yes to, that you don’t really find rewarding or important to you? Just getting a handle on where the hours are disappearing to will help you plan your time more efficiently.
Now, find a quiet place and set aside thirty minutes at the end of the day. Make a list of two or three things that if accomplished the following day would make you relaxed and calmer. Schedule when in your day you will work on those items, and commit to completing them. If a project feels totally overwhelming, break it down into small segments, and work on one at a time. Don’t multi-task. Bunch chores like answering emails and phone calls to one or two specific times. Pick one afternoon a week to do all the chores outside your home. And most importantly, take a few breaks during the day to recharge. That way you’ll be more focused upon returning to your tasks, which will help avoid careless mistakes due to fatigue. Getting in the habit of pre-planning your days, and keeping no more than 5-6 things on your “to do” list will go a long way towards making you feel back in control. And make sure one of the items on your list includes something fun or meaningful just for you.
Question: I don’t want to diet, I’m sick of hearing about diets. I want a lifestyle eating change, but something slow. I live such a fast paced life and never get to prepare my food for the day, so breakfast and lunch are never good because I’m rush planning or grabbing something quick. I just can’t get my eating patterns right and stable. Any ideas?
Answer: I’m so glad to hear you don’t want to go on a diet. The word “diet” infers a program with a stop and start; whereas a lifestyle eating change infers habits you can build and live with for the long haul. So congratulations on exploring a new and better approach! And slow changes are always a better way to go. A total overhaul of your eating habits will feel overwhelming, but changing one small thing at a time can lead to big results.
First, begin exploring why you feel it is important to change your eating habits. Your reasons must be compelling enough to stick to lifestyle habits you can sustain, even when busy lifestyles make it challenging. Most individuals really do know what they need to do to make positive change, but think they just don’t have the willpower. The key to success is finding the “want” power! Once you find the personal motivators that have value and meaning to you, begin to assess what you are currently doing that does support a healthy eating, and what you do that sabotages good habits. Do more of the positive actions, and slowly reduce or eliminate the sabotaging behaviors. If breakfast and lunch are the problems, try taking one day a week to pre-plan and shop for healthy grab and go items, such as yogurt, fruits, cheese sticks, individual packages of nuts, etc. Pack healthy breakfasts and lunches the night before. Spend a few minutes surfing the net and read the nutritional information from your favorite quick stop restaurants, and you’ll make wiser choices when you do need to grab something quick.
The little bit of time you take to plan in advance will pay you back big time, feeling more in control and the satisfaction of knowing you are making good choices that support your goals. Choose one idea to focus on until it becomes a habit, and then move on to another. That’s when permanent success will feel within reach, and you’ll create the plan that works for you.
Question: I have been working out all my life. I feel that I have a good understanding of fitness, but I am in such a rut and so bored. I have goals to meet my optimum fitness inside and out. I can’t afford an expensive gym and the gym I go to only has cardio machines…I don’t know what else to do. I want to mentally get it together and stop making excuses.
Answer: You obviously feel strongly motivated to stay fit, since you are a lifelong exerciser. Give yourself credit for staying with your program even though you feel you are in a rut and bored. Like anything else, if you do the same thing over and over again, it is going to get tedious. And with exercise, if you don’t periodically change your routine, you’ll stop making progress. The good news is there are so many options that don’t require expensive gyms and so many ways to stay fit and strong. There are relatively inexpensive tools you can purchase for your home, such as medicine and stability balls, elastic bands, kettle bells, a yoga mat and steps.
Your local sporting good store should offer many of these options. The library, video stores, and Netflix offer many choices of good exercise videos for yoga, strength training, Pilates, dance aerobics, and just about any other form of exercise you would like to try. Adult education programs and community centers often offer exercise classes at a much more affordable rate than fitness centers. Also, keep in mind; keeping in shape doesn’t have to mean formal exercise sessions. Compliment your gym or home routine with outdoor activities when weather permits, such as walking, jogging, hiking or biking. Learn a new sport or reconnect with one you used to enjoy as a kid. Many towns have adult softball, basketball or soccer leagues. If you used to love to roller skate or ice skate, check out the local rinks. And when you do find yourself confined to your old routine, try combining it with something that excites you. Perhaps a new music list for your iPod or books on tape may be the thing to re-energize your old stand by exercises. Or, buddy up and exercise with a friend. Good company will make the time fly by. And when all else fails, keep focused on the reason you persist with exercise, all the feel good benefits you get from staying active, and congratulate yourself on achieving your goals of optimum fitness inside and out.
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