Have you ever built up a ton of excitement for something new you are going to do, only to be brought back to reality when you realize the dishes and laundry aren’t going to do themselves? You feel guilty for ignoring your house, kids or husband when you make time for yourself. Or maybe you committed to an exercise regime, but now your kids have basketball practice, and you have to drive them there. Maybe you just don’t have enough time in the day working full-time, taking care of the house and kids, and getting supper on the table that you don’t even have a moment to yourself to breathe. Overcoming the guilt of putting your dreams first isn’t easy, but it is possible. By overcoming guilt, you’re actually putting your family first because your goals and dreams will improve all of your lives.
Why We Feel Guilty
I get it, I’ve been there, minus the kids part. I have definitely struggled with balancing the desire and drive to do something good for myself with the guilt of spending less time taking care of the house, family members and my job. Part of the reason we feel guilty is that we are trying to live up to these impossible standards. We want it all: a career woman with a great husband who never fights with us; amazing kiddos who are smart, kind, caring and never throw a fit; a Pinterest-perfect home that is always clean and never has piles of laundry or dishes; and friends with whom we take girl-trips and meet up for coffee on a weekly basis.
Guess what? No one has that. No one has a perfect life. Sure, people will post on social media all the great stuff going on in their lives, and that’s fantastic. But you don’t see the other side of it. You don’t see the big fight your friend just had with her husband over whose turn it is to do the dishes. You don’t see the meltdown your co-workers’ kids just had at Wal-Mart because she realized her cup is green, and she wanted the purple cup. Also, you don’t see the piles of laundry or dishes in the background of that delicious looking-meal your sister prepared.
Weight Loss Surgery
It’s time to stop comparing ourselves to others and feeling the need to live up to impossible standards. Instead, we need to start overcoming the guilt of putting our hopes and dreams first and start making those dreams a reality. I’m including weight loss surgery in those hopes and dreams because it’s a huge time commitment to go to the doctor appointments and meetings, missing work and family time to meet the requirements. It’s time you’ll need to spend exercising and meal prepping to get the most out of your tool. Yes, this takes time away from your family, home and job, but it will improve all of your lives so much, that you’re actually putting your family first.
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How to Start Overcoming Guilt
Some days, it is hard to be able to find the time and energy to concentrate on the things that are important to me. Sometimes it means I let other tasks fall to the side so that I can concentrate on the important ones, like using my tool properly and being a successful blogger.
So how do I overcome that guilt? How do I decide that the tasks that are most important to me are the ones that take precedence over other things that are begging for my attention? It’s quite simple, actually. Whenever I feel the guilt taking over, I close my eyes and breathe for a second. I picture my future: I’m at my goal weight of 160 pounds, a successful blogger with a thriving business who is financially savvy. I see the happiness on my face as my nieces and nephews play in the backyard. It helps to remind myself that every time I put my goals and tasks first, I’m actually putting my family first.
I didn’t get here overnight. It took me a long time to be okay and comfortable with the fact that I’m making time for my dreams. Because I’m overcoming the guilt of putting myself first, I’m actually improving the quality of life for myself and my family. If you also struggle with overcoming the guilt of putting yourself first, read for 10 tips to start putting yourself first.
Step One: Write Your Goals
Start with 10 minutes to yourself. Get a notebook and a pen, and I want you to really think about what you want. What are your goals? Do you want to lose weight? Is getting a post-secondary degree on your list? Do you want to start a business? Do you just want a clean house for once? Whatever it is, don’t edit yourself or think it is too ambitious. Write it down. There is something magical that happens when you write down your goals, rather than thinking about them or typing them. It makes the goals more concrete.
Step Two: Define and Prioritize
A day or so later, take 30 minutes to yourself. Pop a video in for the kids or do it during nap time, whatever it is you need to do to carve out time for yourself. The next step I want you to do is to take your list of goals and prioritize them. What is your number one goal? It will be the one goal that will have the most significant impact on your life. What are your top three goals?
If your goals are generic, like “Be a better mom” or “Be financially sound” think about what that means to you. Does it mean you want to quit your job to be a stay-at-home mom? Do you want to be able to play with your kids more? Should you create a budget and stick with it? Does it mean that you have money saved for a rainy day? Whatever it is, define it and then prioritize it.
Step Three: Map it Out
Now, I want you to take an hour to yourself. Take your top three goals, and I want you to list out every single step you need to take to get to that goal. Every step you can think of to get there, write it down. It could be 50 steps to get your goal, or it could be 10 steps. It doesn’t matter, you need to write it down. Guess what? You now have a plan. You’ve also managed to take a full 100 minutes to yourself to focus on what you want out of life. You are taking the first steps of overcoming guilt and putting your goals first.
Step Four: Determine Your Why
Perhaps the most important step of all is what happens next. I want you to take another hour to yourself and write down your why. Why is it important for you to achieve these goals and dreams? Why do you want to be a better mom or be in a better financial position? Think about why you want to lose weight and get weight loss surgery. Write down your why. If you’re having trouble, think of your life after you achieve your dreams and goals. Will you work from home? Will you be able to have a family? These are the images I want you to think about when you close your eyes.
Step Five: Get a Planner
Now that you know what you want and how to go after it, you need to make time for your dreams. If you don’t make the time for your dreams, no one else will do it for you. I’m guessing your dreams improve your life in some way, and if it’s improving your life, it’s improving your family’s life too. Remind yourself of this fact when overcoming the guilt of putting yourself first. I can’t stress the importance of a good planner here. I use Ruth Soukup’s Living Well Planner. You’re going to need something that helps you write down your long-term goals, and puts them in manageable chunks, as well as organize your life. I’ve used many planners before, but nothing compares to the Living Well Planner.
Step Six: Use Your Planner
Start using your planner by filling in all the appointments for you, your husband and your kids. Make your planner the center for everything you do in life. At the beginning of each week, I want you to sit down for 30 minutes or so, and block off your time in manageable chunks. Make sure you have time each day to work on your goals and dreams.
Rosemarie Groner at the Busy Budgeter recommends 10 hours a week at minimum to work on your goals. I agree with her and tend to do more as time allows. Some weeks you may be able to block more time, but try to get in at least 10 hours per week. If you have kids, put in their favorite movie while you work. Get up before everyone else if you have to do it. In fact, Ruth Soukup often talks about how she would wake up at 3 AM to work on her blog when she first started because it was the only time she had for herself. Make time for your goals and dreams.
Step Seven: Meal Plan
While your planning your week, also plan your meals, even if it’s just dinner. Think about what ingredients you have on hand, and base your meals off of that. It’s so much easier getting through the day without having to worry about what you’re going to eat that day. Perhaps try meal prepping or automating your meals for a week to see how much time it saves you. The Living Well Planner also has space for meal planning too! It’s really a great investment.
Step Eight: Treat Your Goals as Appointments
Treat your blocks of time for your goals as appointments. You wouldn’t miss a doctor’s appointment because your living room is a mess and needs to be cleaned, right? Don’t do it with your goals and dreams either. Remember, whenever you put yourself first, you are actually putting your family first. Overcoming guilt to work on your own goals and dreams can be life-changing. If you are also going through weight loss surgery, you’re already changing so many things in your life. It’s time to make yourself a priority.
Step Nine: Prioritize Your Goals
It’s okay to let less important things take the back burner while you are working on your dreams and goals. I’m not suggesting you ignore your kids or not take care of them. What I mean is that the laundry and the dishes are still going to be there tomorrow if you don’t get to them today. Just make it a priority the next day to do the laundry and dishes first thing in the morning, so that you can focus on your goals and dreams today.
Step 10: Remember Your Why
When the guilt starts rushing back in, close your eyes, and breathe. Picture your why from step four. Picture how your life is going to be once you complete your dream and goals. Remind yourself that taking time for yourself is not a bad thing. Taking time for your dreams and goals improves your life, which in turn improves your family’s life. Remind yourself if you don’t take the time for your dreams and goals, no one else will. Overcoming guilt by working towards those goals will bring you so much satisfaction.
By overcoming guilt and working towards your goals, you’re actually putting your family first because it will improve all of your lives. However, in order to be successful at weight loss surgery or other goals, we need time to make it happen. Our laundry and dishes will still be there after a workout. Your kids need their mom around for a long time, and by taking care of your health, you’re ensuring that future. Start by taking 10 minutes a day and build up to 10 hours a week. You’ll be amazed at the differences in your life. Don’t let guilt hold you back. It’s OK to put things on the back burner for a little while you concentrate on your goals. Make your goals a priority. You are worth it.
If this article gave you some great ideas to incorporate into your life, just imagine what other amazing strategies I have for you! Share this post on social media by clicking one of the sharing buttons, and don’t forget to join my email list! You’ll be the first to get updates, access to my new products and lots of tips, inspiration and motivation to help in your bariatric surgery journey. Just for joining, I’ll send you a free weight loss coloring chart, as well as some other pretty awesome goodies to keep you motivated. Join today!
Realize that by putting yourself first and taking care of yourself, you are actually putting your family first. When you are fulfilled and working towards your dreams, you’re improving not only your life but your family’s life too. Keep pushing forward, as you can achieve anything you want to achieve.