Are you selfish? Do you value your time above everything else?
Selfish gets a bad wrap, people often associated being selfish as negative, a trait where you are focused primarily on yourself. The time we have is our most valuable commodity, the one thing we can never get back. So why are we demonized for wanting to spend it the way that makes us happy?
Today I want to talk about why it may be time to focus on yourself, take the time to be a little (key word) selfish and put yourself first.
Let’s start with a common scenario
“I have no time to exercise”
Is this truly the case? Very rarely will I see someone who is truly time poor. Yes, you have a family, a career, a lifestyle that is set up a certain way that leaves you very little time for yourself. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you are time poor, rather you have just allocated your time more so to other priorities.
In this scenario I find using a system of allocating points quite helpful for people. That looks like getting people to grab a piece of paper and list your top 5 most important things in your life.
- Work / Money
- Everyday tasks (chores)
Now, none of the tasks on your top 5 list can go without a point allocation or they will simply not get done. This may actually be the case for a lot of you where you may value or hold an aspect of your life in high regard yet cease to give it any of your time.
Now with each of your top 5 tasks, allocate points based on worth, until you have used up all 10!
This may look like the following:
- Work / Money – 3 points
- Relationships – 3 points
- Health – 2 points
- Hobbies – 1 point
- Everyday tasks – 1 point
Now that we have allocated our points, we can see where our priorities lie. Each person completing this will have different values and points allocated to each value.
Being an exercise physiologist and this being a health blog, let’s look at health (surprise, surprise).
If someone where to look at their list and say I want to improve my health, they would have to take away from somewhere else on their list. As I said earlier there is only so many hours in the day, so many ways you can allocate yourself.
So where does being selfish come into this?
Maybe you previously had work / money higher up on your list, in the example above 3 points were allocated. This may have looked like regularly staying back late at work to please your boss, take on extra roles, social events of a night time or weekends, the list is endless.
Now by taking a point away this may look like stripping back on ‘work’. Maybe you don’t put your hand up next time to take on an extra project, instead you keep your time free and allow yourself to spend this on improving your health!
Is this wrong? It is inherently a selfish act. I would say no.
Let me rephrase this and shine it in another light.
What if you were to allocate more points to one specific value on your top 5 list, let’s say you allocate 5 points to work and take away a point from relationship and health.
What could happen?
- Burn out
- Health deterioration
- Relationships will be affected
- Mental and physical fatigue
- Increase money
- Potentially decrease job satisfaction
- Decreased productivity
Now out of that list I see a lot of potential negatives, one positive (increasing money). You may have noticed that other variables on your value list suffered!
Take a moment now to write down what the best version of yourself looks like?
Is this someone who works to the bone but sacrifices their health? Someone that is no irritable, consumed by work and unable to spend time with their friends / family.
Would you rather be a version of yourself that values their health, takes time to be selfish and say no to tasks once in a while so they can look after themselves and therefore improve every aspect of their lives by being present, healthy, mentally refreshed and ultimately happier.
Selfishness is a tool, like anything in our life’s moderation is essential. Now of course, we can tip the scale of being selfish into an unhealthy area, think of the extreme narcissist or sociopath, where their world revolves only around themselves and everything is an object that will either assist them in their endeavours or simply be in their way.
The point of this blog is to show you that it is ok to look after yourself, to put yourself on your priority list. Regularly engaging with exercise has a range of benefits.
Occasionally that may look like skipping an event because you are tired, it may look like saying no so you can exercise, meditate, read, perform a hobby.
Education and health promotion is one of the ways an Exercise physiologist can help you!
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