As we kick off the new year it is a time of excitement for many. There is the promise of fresh starts and new beginnings. The new year marks a starting line for many in pursuit of something they desire.
One of the biggest dilemmas in this time of year is the illusion of the fresh slate. The promise of the new year sometimes is so exciting that we want to target everything we want right away and we feel inspired to say yes to every opportunity that comes our way!
The dilemma is that the slate is not blank to start. Just because it is a new year does not mean there is no continuation of things from the earlier year.
You know I am always going to advocate that you set your sites on all that you want, so how do we fit it all in and not set ourselves up for failure or feel overwhelmed?
How do we live a life of abundance in a space where time is limited?
I know you might think it is impossible to make more time, however I will explain how I’ve been able to change my FOMO (fear of missing out) to a life of abundance all by managing time.
I have many things going on in my life at any give time and yet I feel less pressured about time than I ever have before. This is accomplished by conscious planning and conscious yessing.
Say No to say Yes
I take careful consideration before saying yes to adding anything onto my plate or calendar. I will say this is still a work in progress and I do sometimes say yes and realize it was not the best decision and you will likely do the same, but I am miles ahead of where I used to be.
When I had small children I had to consider them in virtually every decision I made in my life. Anything I chose to add to my schedule or did in my life including where to live or work was “checked” against if it was good for my family, or if it benefited them, or even as small as if I had childcare for them before I said yes. My children and my family were my touchstone.
My children are now grown and no longer a factor in my decision making, so I needed to determine a new touchstone. At first I found myself saying yes to almost everything because I had nothing holding me back – boy was that a mistake!
I finally decided that I would clearly define my values and goals and begin to use those as criteria to determine what I say yes to and this has worked fabulously. So when I am approached to take on a leadership role in a volunteer organization, or when I have an inquiry to participate in an event it is easy for me to determine if it fits my values or goals and accept or decline with ease and no guilt.
Because I understand my time and energy capabilities, I know I have limitations on how much I can comfortably fit in one day. If I say yes to something only for the sake of not saying no to someone (we all do it from time to time) it may require me to say no to something I value very highly in my world.
When broken down in this way, I find it is an easier decision to make and I am able to easily review that I am not willing to compromise on my values to avoid declining an event or activity.
Besides, who says if I say no anyone will feel badly anyway? Deciding other people’s reactions to our decisions before we even deliver them are sometimes only a story we tell ourselves. Sometimes, the person to whom we decline an invite or an opportunity may very well be relieved or ok with the situation and hopefully will be led to someone more suitable for the job.
Real Life Scenario
The part where it gets tricky for me is where two of my values come up against each other. This happened very recently in a situation where I had just had several visitors to my home in Panama which I love however it limited the amount of time I could serve clients and work on my business.
Having friends and family visit is one of my greatest joys and part of my values for living this lifestyle, however, when I have back to back visits it leaves working on my business in a deficit. Making my business the best it can be and serving others is another of my values and priorities and at this time my business still needs a substantial amount of time to be at the level I wish it to be and beyond.
After several back-to-back visits I had a friend contact me to come down to visit and I had to postpone her visit. It is at these times, when two of my major values come into conflict that I must make a decision that is less easy. In this case I based my decision on the fact that I did not feel I could be fully present with her because I would be distracted by work I felt was not being done. Another value for me is to be fully present when I am with others.
By being more conscious of only saying yes to things that fit within my values I feel as though I have enough time to fit in almost all the things I want. When I fill my days with as many things that are connected to my values and joy I feel more abundant. I have begun to feel that I have all the time I need to fill my days with things that bring me joy and therefore make me more joyful for others.
If you are not feeling abundant or are feeling like there is just not enough time to do everything, I encourage you to see what you are filling your days with. I also encourage you to look at your calendar for the week and see if there are at least three things you might be able to take off it this week and replace with something that brings you joy. Anything on your calendar that is not mandatory that you have mixed feelings about can be evaluated to see if it is something worthy of your yes.