Life is busy and can often feel heavy. We have a lot of responsibilities today. We have bills to pay, a family to support, friends that need guidance, and about a hundred other things that require attention, all whilst looking after our mental wellbeing.
Despite a life stacked with items on our to-do list, there are things we want to accomplish that help us become stronger and more well-rounded men. Each year, we set goals to create a measurable plan and path to evolving and growing.
Our goal-setting tends to start from a place of thinking about how what we want to accomplish would fit with our responsibilities. In essence, we create goals that don’t prioritize what’s important to us as individuals. There’s a reason why only about eight percent of people stick to their New Year’s resolutions.
I have been one of those men who set the same goals every year but rarely accomplished any of them. I started hot and ready for a productive year each year but that energy fizzled out by the end of February. I came to the end of each year feeling defeated.
At the end of 2016, I reached my breaking point. I was tired of being overweight and broke, struggling to pay my bills, in unhealthy relationships, and feeling like a disappointment to those in my life.
I said “enough,” and started the beginning of 2017 in a place that centers me — Maui, Hawaii. I spent mornings on the beach meditating and processing trauma. I spent days studying how to improve in the areas I wanted to improve, and I got to work. I left Maui a changed man, and the journey to becoming the best version of myself hasn’t stopped since. One of my biggest realizations was the importance of putting myself first when setting goals.
My therapist, life coach, and mentors helped me understand the importance of putting myself first and creating goals aligned with where I wanted to go in life.
Self-prioritization has helped me create goals I can go hard on all year. Self-prioritized goals have led to a better me for everyone else in my life. Life is happier since making the shift to self-prioritization in goal setting. Understanding and implementing self-prioritization in your goal-setting can revolutionize how you accomplish your goals and work on becoming the best version yourself.
Here’s why putting yourself first will revolutionize your goal-setting and create a happier life.
Always Putting Other Things First Can Lead to Overwhelm and Burnout
Life can feel depressing if all you ever do are things for other people — even if you love those people. It will feel like your sole purpose is to make sure everyone else is taken care of. This can lead to bitterness, an unhealthy mental state, and feeling overwhelmed.
Dr. Samantha Madhosingh is the founder of Athena Business Consulting. She’s a leadership consultant and executive coach assisting leaders and entrepreneurs to optimize their performance, productivity, and progress without burning out. “Prioritizing yourself is very important in goal setting. It is also essential in other aspects of your life. Self-prioritizing means that you include your physical, mental, and emotional needs when making decisions about your goals and how you execute them,” says Madhosingh.
“When you self-prioritize, you build in what you need to feel healthy and good about yourself as you focus on your aspirations and goals. When you do not self-prioritize, you run the risk of agreeing to too many things and having an overfilled plate that very quickly leads to burnout. When people don’t self-prioritize, one of the first things to go is self-care. The calendar gets filled with tasks, and then the time needed to take mental and physical breaks, eat properly, exercise, and give your brain a rest disappears. People then become more irritable, lose focus, and often push themselves too hard, thinking that this is the answer to more productivity. But it isn’t. It’s a very slippery slope to burnout,” Madhosingh adds.
Your Mental Wellbeing Will Dictate How You Take Action
Our minds are the gateway to what we do and how we pursue our goals. You don’t take action when you don’t feel good mentally. Putting yourself in a place where you’re consistently doing for others while neglecting yourself puts you in an unhealthy mental state.
Gia Lili is a High-Performance Coach and Life Strategist. She’s also a certified neuroscience-based life coach. “Self-prioritization in goal setting increases your likelihood of achieving success in meeting those goals. Scheduling in time for rest, exercise, or any activity which brings you pleasure or peace of mind enables you to tap into other parts of your brain and create healthier mental wellness,” she says.
“In doing so, this also allows the highest energy-guzzling part of your brain (the left prefrontal cortex) to rest. The main thing to keep in mind is that working more hours does not equal more productivity. In fact, the opposite is true. Working long hours without investing time in your mental, emotional and physical health and well-being can quickly become burnt out.
Stress weakens the cognitive functions of our prefrontal cortex and triggers brain circuits that are more primitive. As a result, our memory, attentional regulation, and decision-making skills are impaired,” says Lili.
Your Best You Is Better For Everyone
You are the most significant project you’ll ever work on. As you become a stronger version of yourself, you can give from a place of completeness and abundance.
There’s a difference between self-prioritization and being self-centered. What we’re talking about is the former. Making your goals a priority creates a life moving towards all the things you want to accomplish.
Tips for Self-Prioritizing in Your Goal-Setting
“Get excited about your personal goals and their potential outcomes. Choose the personal goals you want to achieve this year. For example: improving health, having a better sex life, etc. Make sure you schedule time in your calendar for those things. Plan time to research and implement the strategies and tactics to achieve those goals,” recommends Gia Lili.
“Take a close look at your calendar. If there is not time already built into your day to take mental and physical breaks, put it in there. And then, every time that alert pings to tell you to take a 5, 10, or 15-minute break, do so religiously. You will find that you are more productive without a tired brain and a body that isn’t properly nourished, rested and exercised,” adds Dr. Samantha Madhosingh.
This doesn’t have to be another year you set goals you abandon. One of the keys to accomplishing more is starting from a place of self-prioritization. Give to the outside world from a place of abundance instead of obligation.
What do you want for your life? What does your dream life look like? What lights you up? How can you live your best life now instead of always creating everyone else’s best life?
It’s time to take better care of yourself.