Do you have that one goal that haunts you?
You know, the one you never accomplish but can’t stop wishing and hoping you could?
Every time you try, even with your best intentions, life seems to get in the way.
And the biggest excuse why you trip up over and over again? You don’t have time.
Right? Doesn’t that excuse seem valid?
But it isn’t. It’s not a valid excuse. And here’s why…
How to Find Time for New Good Habits (and Finally Reach Your Goals)
You’ve heard it before, because it is so true: each person only has 24 hours in their day and 7 days in their week.
And yet, some people are more productive, happy, and successful.
How is this possible? Is it because they are wealthier or inherently smarter?
My bet is it’s because they have the right mindset and know the practical steps to take to achieve their goals.
Get in the right mindset
To get in the right mindset, you need to first make sure it’s the right time and that you are not making excuses for yourself.
You also need to believe that you can accomplish what you want and let go of any fears that are holding you back.
Find the right timing
Sometimes a big change in your life, like a move or a new baby, can send your routines and good intentions reeling.
And maybe you have some mental blocks that you need to work through before tackling a big life-changing habit.
There are seasons in every life and a time to focus on certain things.
Don’t force yourself when you are not ready, but be aware of your reasons.
Be completely honest with yourself. Only you can know if you are making excuses for yourself or if it’s just not the right time.
Give yourself time to get there and tackle it when you can.
I’ve always wanted to be a writer. And when I was fresh out of college, I wanted so badly to be a novelist.
I tried and tried and failed and failed to write a novel.
Each time I gave up in frustration because I knew the story just couldn’t develop into anything good.
I had to learn to get over my perfectionism, and I needed to understand what it was that I truly wanted to accomplish with my writing.
This was a journey that took me over 4 years. I never gave up on my goal- it was a part of me.
I kept trying new angles on writing and working on becoming a better version of myself in general.
Along that journey I learned how to deal productively with my debilitating perfectionism, and I more clearly defined why I had this desire to be a writer; I want to inspire people!
And that’s when I decided to start a blog to do just that.
Now, I excitedly get up early each morning to write, and it is filling me with joy to live out my lifelong dream of being a writer.
Don’t make excuses
Are you putting off getting fit, or writing that book of poems, or finally getting your closet organized because it truly is not the right time in your life?
Or is it because you feel lazy or unmotivated?
Only you can answer that for yourself.
If you need some motivation, I challenge you to make a list of the reasons why doing your thing would be totally awesome, and put it where you will see it every day.
Look at the list.
Watch YouTube videos about your thing.
Listen to podcasts about it.
Learn everything you can about it.
Think about it. Let it simmer inside you, until you just can’t help but get started.
Believe that you can have time for what truly matters.
Believe in yourself.
Surround yourself with good influences.
Join a motivating Facebook group like Making Time Moms, and read about what others are accomplishing,
Make friends with people who are doing what you want to be doing.
You can look at their lives and say “they are doing it, so I can too.”
They will challenge you to be your best self by being their best selves.
One reason I started to believe that I could be a writer while being a busy mom of young children was a New York Times article about Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight Saga.
The article reported that she wrote her first book in the series in only three months with a baby in her lap typing with one hand.
Talk about having a drive, believing in yourself, and not letting excuses get in your way.
I don’t care if you’re a fan of her books or not, that is impressive.
It made me believe it is possible that I, too, could find time to write.
Let Go of Fear
Stop over-analyzing, stop second-guessing your approach. Choose a path and jump in.
The more you do it, the more you will see that it is not as scary as you thought and you are more capable than you imagined.
If you need to change an approach later, you can.
Nothing is perfect at the beginning.
You will learn as you go.
Also, Don’t be afraid to make a big needed life change.
Sometimes the things that are holding us back are ourselves, but other times it’s poisonous relationships, jobs, environments, or unnecessary responsibilities.
Try to resolve what you can, but don’t let fear of change or fear of repercussions keep you from standing up for yourself and making a drastic change for the better.
Talk to a trusted friend or mentor and brainstorm options for a path out.
Sometimes, even just saying it out loud will give you the confidence you need to move forward.
If you are still scared, ask yourself, ‘What’s the worst that can happen?‘
If the absolute worst thing that could happen is still better or the same as your current reality- you have nothing to lose.
And if the worst that can happen is actually super awful, try to make plans for that not to happen and a plan for if that did happen.
If you’re still wondering if it is worth it, ask yourself “How will I feel one year from now if I don’t, and how will I feel one year from now if I do?”
Three years ago, we were broke.
I remember frequently having as little as $10 in the grocery budget to feed our family of 3 each week. (Thank goodness for WIC and coupons!)
many times we didn’t have enough money to cover the cost of gas for my husband to get to work.
He couldn’t find a better job where we were, and it was rough.
We started brainstorming what we should do and eventually settled on a plan- a daunting, life-altering plan.
My husband flew up to North Dakota. We had heard of the low unemployment rate and the seemingly endless good paying jobs in the oil boom.
A couple of weeks after he was there, he was offered a job that promised steady, good paying work with great benefits.
While this was such a blessing, the timing of this change was hard.
He took the job one month before our second child was due to be born, and we moved our family across country when he was only 1 month old.
My emotions were so raw and it was a painful transition for me to have to move 18 hours away from my parents and siblings and our comfort zones.
But the change has been exactly what we needed. And even though it is still really hard to be apart from my family,
I am grateful my husband and I were brave enough to make this change.
Not only has it been a blessing financially, it has helped me gain perspective I didn’t know I needed.
A lot of my own personal growth has happened in these last three years because I’ve had to rely on myself more, and be humble enough to ask members of my church for help.
Sometimes it’s a rocky journey to get to where you need to be, but in the end it will be worth it.
By making big needed changes in your life, you are opening doors for better opportunities and gaining more time and freedom to focus on what you need.
After you are in the right mind set, it still takes a lot of time to achieve your goal and make the needed changes in your life.
Here are some practical tips you need to harness all your available time:
To gain perspective on what your priorities are, imagine you will die tomorrow.
Ask yourself ‘What have I accomplished? What do I regret? What do I wish I would have done more?’
When you put life into this perspective, it is easier to see what truly matters most to you.
Life is very short and we need to make the most of it or we will have painful regrets.
Learn to say no to the good in order to have time for the best.
Cancel things in your routines and replace them with opportunities for you to work on your goals.
Trade Time Wasted for Time Made
If you’re not sure you can give up anything and that your schedule is completely packed, I challenge you to write down everything you do.
Set a timer on your phone to go off every hour. When the timer goes off, jot down what you did during that hour and how much time you gave to each thing.
There are also time tracking apps- just search for them in iTunes or Google Play to make this process easier.
At the end of a week, tally up the total time you spent doing each activity.
You may be surprised to find that by week’s end you totaled up 2 hours of watching TV. What else could you have done with that time?
This is not to say you should run yourself ragged being busy every second of the day with no down time, but being aware of where your time is going allows you to mindfully create a better life for yourself.
Do one new goal at a time. Overwhelming yourself is the fastest road to quitting.
Overwhelm will stop your believe in yourself to make a change.
Start slow and build momentum from there.
Create a habit loop
A habit loop is when you experience a trigger to do a certain routine to reach a desired reward.
For instance, you might trigger the routine of washing the dishes when you clear the plates from the table.
Your reward is the feeling of peace you get from having a clean kitchen.
It will take a few times of doing this for it to become automatic, but it will.
This knowledge alone can help you start achieving the things that, in the past, have been out of reach.
Finally Reaching Your Goal
Get yourself in the right mindset; find the right timing, stop your excuses, believe that what you want is possible, and let go of your fears.
When you get in the right mindset you will have more confidence to not quit when things get hard.
Then, put the practical tips of prioritizing, finding wasted time, focusing, and creating habit loops into practice.
Only then can you begin spending your time the way you truly need to and achieving your goals.
Someday, you literally will not have any time left.
Don’t let the excuse of “not having enough time” now steal the happiness, health and productivity from your life.
You deserve more than that.
This Post is Part of the Habits that Last Series:
Create a new life for yourself with less stress.
- Habits that Last: Less Mom Stress is Possible (Series Beginning)
- 7 Tips on How to Make New Habits Last (and Change Your Life)
- 4 Steps to Breaking a Bad Habit For Good
- How a Habit Tracker Can Keep You Motivated to Reach Your Goals (Free Printable)
- 5 Stress-Causing Habits No Mom Has Time For (and How to Stop Doing Them)
- Keystone Habits: Transforming Your Life by Changing the Way you Define Yourself
- 7 Simple Habits for a Tidy, Less Stressful Home
- How to Find Time for New, Good Habits (and Finally Reach your Goals)
- How I Changed My Unhealthy Habits as an Overwhelmed Mom (and You Can Too)
- How Busy Moms Create Balance with Weekly and Daily Routines
- A Morning and Evening Routine that Will Change Your Life
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