Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Better Time Choices for a Better Life

So, did you do it? Did you keep a notebook with you to track your activities for the last week? (See previous post here). I sure hope you did because if you are like most people you discovered that you spend a lot more time in non-productive activities than you thought.

    According to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day. Do you realize that equates out to 2 months of non-stop TV watching per year? Just think how much farther you would be on your road to success if you had just half of that time back. A whole month of time to devote to improving your education and skills, or a whole month for new experiences and challenges. 720 hours of “found” time.  

    And that’s just the average TV time. Don’t even get me going on surfing the net or reading gossip magazines.  Free time is all around us if we just stop, realize what we are doing, and make some better choices.

    Now, let’s talk about these better choices. I am not living your life. I do not know what long-term interests, challenges or goals you have. But I do know that the only way you are going to end up where your heart truly desires is by taking action. You have made a start. You have decided that you need to spend your time much more wisely. My suggestion is to start slowly. Don’t try to go all cold-turkey on TV or internet use. It may not sound like it but I do watch some TV and I am online as well. But I keep balance and have slowly weaned myself off the dependence of easy and cheap entertainment and info-tainment. 

    I suggest you go slow. Decide the one or two things you want to do more of. Maybe it’s going for a walk each evening with a loved one, maybe it’s reading more, or maybe it’s developing a new skill. It’s up to you to decide but please keep a few things in mind:

3 Steps to Better Time Choices

1)    Decide on what you want to do and make a schedule.
Decide where you are going to stop wasting time and what you are going to do in its place. You must       have a replacement activity lined up and ready to go or you will just slip right back into your old routine. 

2)    Give it 30 days. 
Studies have shown that is takes a minimum of 21 days for habits to form. I like to give it a full month. Four full weeks of daily focused practice will help establish a new routine.

3)    Make only one or two changes per month.
Don’t try to make a whole host of changes all at once. You’ll likely get frustrated if you try too much to fast. Yes, the brain thrives and grows on challenge and change but that is with practice. If you have been in a set routine for a while then change will take more commitment and practice. Set yourself up to win by initially taking smaller steps.

Only you can make the choices on how to live your best life. And only you can follow through to make it happen. Make now the moment that you take action. Make now the moment that you start the journey to a happier and more successful life. The main question is: If not now, when?

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