A simple but powerful thought came to mind the other day getting changed for my swim. My daily routine and physical exercise regime is very important to me and has helped me in so many ways to handle the massive pressures, competing tasks, management of others and my own expectations as an entrepreneur.
Having a morning and evening routine has been instrumental to those positive graduations to building my business, becoming a better leader, person and my outlook on life.
However, simply having a routine you’ve created and sticking to it, doesn’t mean the practice is perfected. My time is very limited as an entrepreneur growing my business, as it feels every moment could also be used elsewhere on something urgent. However, after running Safe & the City for more than 2 years I have learned the hard way how important taking time for the essentials like physical exercise and rest. Although I have gotten to a point where I can keep to my routine, I still often rush through it to move onto the next thing.
While I was trying to fit in my 1-hour swim before work with agendas and to-dos running through my head. I quickly took off my shoes and threw my socks inside out haphazardly into my locker. I put the rest of my swimsuit as speedily as possible to jump on the pool, get my laps in and make sure I’m back in the office in time for X, Y, Z. I’m running through the routine without being present.
When I got back to the locker room to quickly change I saw the state of the locker with my clothes and socks inside out and a mess. I then had a gentle voice that sounded like my mothers’ come to mind. This profound message now stays with me every time I go back to those lockers.
I was always told by my late Mother growing up to slow down. I played all the sports, joined all the clubs, studied the hardest but rarely gave time to myself as I was so focused on achieving the next big thing. In my school and circle of friends, it felt like a race of overachievers, not just in one subject, sport, or circle of friends you belonged too, but across all of them. This type of overachievers carried on into adulthood which can sound impressive in how many countries travel, jobs worked in, networks build but can also be equally problematic when you don’t make headspace to see why you’re doing the things you are.
Am I truly setting my future self up for success? Is the message that kept repeating in my mind while changing and well into the days ahead. Even though it was only an hour into the future it was something I could anticipate knowing. I would return to a messy locker, be a bit annoyed at myself to scrummage through or find things to be wet or dirty because of my lack of awareness I would be the one to come back to it.
When you remain present you may start to spot these unconscious habits that are disabling rather than enabling your future self. Whether they are the small things like a messy lock, unwashed dishes or the larger things like bills to be paid or difficult conversations you’ve been avoiding.
The first step is to become aware of them and what state it would bring your future self if you were able to do this thing now or organise it into space you can come back to it better in. The second step is to take one small thing and form it into a habit, so it later will not take the effort as it did to initially form it. The third step is to be forgiving of yourself. You will never be perfect but the more you cumulative space you can make in those day-to-day habits the more you can focus your efforts on the next challenge to become a greater you.