2016: the year to focus on YOU
It’s good to be selfless but bad to be selfless to the extent that you start ignoring yourself. We all have made that mistake in our lives, where other priorities like family, friends, work, business or something beyond our control has taken over our life, far above our own self.
When I see my friends, they’re busy raising kids and from going to work to getting back home, then feeding and putting the child(ren) to sleep means over 16 hours of the day. Then by the time you’re done getting ready for the next day, there’s hardly time to sleep, let alone focus on yourself.
With such hard schedules, bad habits kick in; the occasional beer with colleagues on Friday evenings, the late night snacking, and the McDonalds diet, especially for those on the run, in a non-office job. The gym time gets reduced to twice a week, and even then, other things occupy the mind, whilst you’re working out.
Although I don’t have kids and am not married, much of this is true for me too. Between client appointments and managing business, and catching up with friends, there’s hardly time left to get punctual about essential things which matter – body, mind and spirit.
How to focus on ME?
Sleep 8 hours every day…not more, not less.
Each day is divided into 24 hours, and on average, one needs 8 hours of sleep so its important to take that into consideration. Build your whole daily schedule to accomodate 8 hours sleep. For most, it’s in one go from night to morning. For others, like me, I prefer to squeeze in 2 hours in the afternoon, and then another 6 hours in the night.
For a healthy mind to function, sleep is most important. It helps the body balance hormones, cleanse toxins and regenerate cells which help in recovery from all sorts of pains and discomforts. People who sleep well have sharper memory, stronger focus, and don’t get tired too often as their energy levels are restored.
Wake up early…exercise and then enjoy a big breakfast
People who wake up to welcome the sunrise are said to be many times happier and less stressed. It has something to do with mind balance with nature, where a early dawn walk or a quick run in the park, or a gig at the gym helps in stimulating muscles and kick-start metabolism.
After that exercise, it’s important to make yourself a healthy breakfast consisting of protein (eggs, meat, milk, shake), carbs (bread, cornflakes, oats) and fruits / veges. Focus on low GI non-sugary alternatives and a cup of coffee as the caffeine kick certainly helps.
Get dressed for business…project what you want to be
People who dress well as seen as successful by their peers, and carry a sense of confidence that helps them manage their perceived value best. Dressing well doesn’t need to be an expensive exercise, but should still be considered as an investment instead of an expense.
Those who are happy dressing down, generally tend to take 6 to 12 months longer to be promoted, compared to those who are presented well on a daily basis. This includes being groomed well with a decent sense of hygiene.
A well constructed suit, with decent quality shirt and comfortable shoes exudes a sense of class and worthiness which makes the individual stand out, and always be ready to do business and close deals.
During my years in corporate, I always dressed well as you never know when you bump into your company’s CEO; or be in a meeting with a client; or even with your colleagues from another department. When presented well, their perception of you is positive and refreshing.
Read on a daily basis…aim to complete 1 book a month
Reading is a very valuable skill. It teaches us to focus on a particular thing for a period of time, absorb information, process information and increase our vocabulary and knowledge.
A successful trait of leaders and experts are that they are avid readers. They dive into books with a sense of satisfaction and pick out pearls of wisdom which helps them make better judgement or understand situations better.
Well read people are very few, so if one can commit to completing 1 book a month; it means a decent library of information over a few years.
Invest in growth… save more and spend wisely
The only truth I’ve learnt when it comes to investing is to invest in people who are growing, or looking to grow. Not in brands, labels, industries but people.
When you pick a stock to invest in, find out who’s behind it and their past performance. When you want to buy property, find out how the area / suburb has done over the past 15 – 20 years in good and bad cycles, and if there’s growth, take the risk.
Aim to save 20% of your income and look to invest every 18 to 24 months. Start small and build up, and never go by hear-say. Money is hard to earn, and easy to spend. Invest in things that generate income, instead of things that depreciate over time, apart from essentials for daily consumption and living.
Take 1 week off every 3 months instead of a month off at the end of the year
2015 was the last year when I’ve taken a month or so off work for a family holiday. Not that I’m not enjoying it (I’m still on holiday) but I’ve realised from now on, I want to take 1 week off every 3 months so I can rejuvenate my senses and travel to someplace new. It will help me see more of the world we live in, and understand other cultures, locations and countries.
The biggest advantage is that the break is long enough to relax, but not long enough to lose focus on what’s important and not lose sight of business goals and targets.
Family comes first…include them in your plans and goals
For those of us who are blessed to have our own families – parents, siblings, partners, children and even close friends. It is important to include them in your plans and goals so they can support you by waking you up on time, helping you sleep and eat better, and be part of the good fun times you get to enjoy during the year.
Even better if you can include someone into this plan so you both can do it together. It will help you keep each other focused and accountable. And have someone to party with when you’ve had an awesome year.
Hope you find this article helpful, and I’m completely focused on putting all of these in practice this year for myself, so I can achieve more, give more and relax more as the days turn into weeks, months and then another year has passed by.