Make yourself a priority. At the end of the day, you are your longest commitment.—Unknown
The quote you just read? Humor me and focus on the word "commitment" more than "priority" for just a sec, please. So, we all know folks who are scared of commitment, right? The term that is usually used for them is commitment-phobe. Some of the signs that indicate if someone is one include—they don't like to make long-term plans; most of their relationships are casual; they flake on personal commitments; they're attracted to individuals who refuse to fully commit to them; their expectations are unrealistic in both personal as well as professional relationships; and they're pretty poor communicators.
OK, with this list in tow, rather than thinking about all of the other people who may immediately come to mind, point the finger towards yourself. Is this how you are when it comes to your interactions with others? More importantly, is this how you are when it comes to how you interact with yourself?
When's the last time you planned to go on a summer vacation and started saving up for it the previous fall? How many of your relationships consist of people who are as committed to you as you are committed to them? One sign of a poor communicator is someone who doesn't listen well. Are you truly in tune with your own mind, body, and spirit to the point that when they need you to give them some extra TLC, you stop whatever is going on and do it?
I don't know about you, but I'll definitely raise my hand in this class and confess that, for years, I was so focused on trying to change the ways of the commitment-phobes in my life that I didn't realize I was one myself. How? I didn't access the reality of what that quote said—I didn't see myself as being my longest commitment and therefore, honor myself as such.
Oh, but bay-bay. I have done a complete 180 on that for the past few years now. Here's how I stopped being the greatest self-commitment-phobe I knew and made myself my own top priority. I think if you try some of these tips, you can master doing the same thing for yourself as well.
1. Look at Your Daily To-Do List. Make Sure You Are on It.
There are a billion-and-one reasons why all of us should have some sort of daily to-do list. It creates order in our lives. It holds us accountable for our tasks and how we utilize our time. It keeps us productive. It significantly reduces our stress levels. You know what else it does? It teaches us how to properly prioritize.
If you want your day to be super-productive, it's a good idea to do the hardest things first. That will keep you from procrastinating. It will also boost your level of self-confidence. But as you're in the process of figuring out what goes where on your list, make sure that you are somewhere on it.
Whether it's a mani/pedi appointment, stopping by the store to get your favorite bottle of wine, or simply setting aside an hour to listen to your favorite podcast, it's important that you consistently remind yourself that you are something that should take precedence—each and every day of your life.
2. Double-Check Your Reason(s) for Agreeing to Things
This is something that took me a long time to learn. Sometimes, when someone asks us to do something, we say "OK" or "sure" without really thinking it all the way through. Then, because we want to keep our word, we follow through although we're slick irritated or resentful about it.
You're not really helping anyone out if you're doing something with a bad attitude. You're also not benefitting yourself if your "yes" always comes from a place of fear ("Will they still like me if I say 'no'?") or codependency.
Nothing is good about being a selfish person. But if you want to be a true blessing, give when you know you've got the time, the resources, and the right spirit. You can know whether or not you do by taking a moment to check your own schedule, your own bills, and if you've made sure that you're rested and centered enough to help out.
A healthy person knows that it's always best to give from their surplus; not from their lack.
3. Designate a Day Each Week That Is Yours (ALL YOURS)
Let me clarify what I mean by this. I'm not saying that you need to call in sick once a week. I'm also not saying that you should blow your budget with reckless spending. What I am suggesting is that you set aside a day when you make sure you do exactly what you want to do—no justifications, explanations, or apologies to anyone else given—on a consistent basis.
It could be a weekday to binge-watch a favorite show. It could be a weekend morning to have brunch at one of your favorite spots. Whatever you decide, it needs to be about disconnecting from your regular schedule and focusing on what makes you happy and peaceful (not one or the other—both).
I'm not saying it has to be the same day each week either. Just make sure that you block out a few hours, each week, to cater to you and only you. Doing something as simple as this will get you used to prioritizing life so that you'll be better at doing my next recommendation.
4. Realign Your Other Priorities
It's gotta be one of my favorite quotes on the planet. And it's been my personal experience that the only ones who get offended by it are the very ones who need to hear it more often:
"Poor planning on your part does not automatically constitute an automatic emergency on my part."
I can't tell you how many times someone would be reckless with their own life and then call me to fix it like it was something I had to do. Wanna know why they felt that way? Because I let them. I didn't say "no" enough or I didn't make sure that my needs—the things I am actually responsible for—were taken care of before tending to their stuff.
If you're constantly playing catch-up with your finances because you're always paying someone else's bills or your relationship is suffering because the friend who wants you to shut up while she's in a toxic relationship also always wants you on the phone with her for hours on end when it blows up in her face? Listen, I'm not saying to shut down on these types of folks. What I am saying is give $40 rather than loan $100 and meet your friend at a coffee house after you've spent quality time with your own significant other.
Realigning your priorities is simply about making sure that all of your priorities cooperate well with one another; that none of them cause chaos or disarray in your world as you're in the process of addressing them all.
When you make sure that you're good, it helps to keep you centered and focused. By making you your top priority, you can make much wiser decisions about everything (and one) else.
5. Make 6-8 Hours of Sleep Non-Negotiable
Moodiness. Fatigue. A lack of motivation. An increased appetite. A low sex drive. A damaged immune system. Clumsiness and forgetfulness. Guess what all of these things are a direct sign of? Sleep deprivation.
There are some people I know who are super emotionally unstable. They've been like that for so long that they think their mood swings and pop-off nature are normal. Guess what they all have in common? They each get no more than five hours of sleep every night. (Oh trust me, I've asked.)
Me? I'll sacrifice a lot of stuff, but what someone is not gonna get in the way of is my sleep. Personally, I like my bed so much that it's like a taking a trip to Six Flags but that's totally beside the point. For the sake of your health and your sanity, make getting no less than six hours of sleep a top priority. Nothing (or no one) should be more important than your body being on point and you staying in your right mind.
6. Totally Spoil Yourself (at Least) Once a Month
The way I handle everything and everyone in my world has totally changed once I started to spoil myself. Once I made sure that treating me to something that makes me feel sacred and special was on my agenda, it became more and more difficult to let others make me feel less than or challenge my worth and value.
That's why I'm a HUGE FAN of encouraging my sistahs to spoil themselves. Don't let the word "spoil" put you in the mindset of being frivolous or a brat. One of my favorite definitions of the word is "a treasure accumulated by a person". You are a treasure so why not surround yourself with things that remind you of this very fact?
The more you value and prize yourself, the less you'll settle for less from others.
It's the ultimate perk of making the decision to make yourself your own top priority.
Featured image by Getty Images.
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