Priorities, it’s Obvious but not Easy

Prioritizing my Future-self

This year I have made a major mind shift on priorities. I used to prioritize things like work, studies and courses, and my photography. This means that I would put most of my energy and focus on these aspects of my life, but slack in things like health, mental health, and fitness. I didn’t ignore them and they were important to me; I just wasn’t paying as much attention. I am a tremendously conscientious person who takes my duties very seriously, too seriously sometimes. So, when I set out my crammed schedule, things like exercise and preparing healthy meals flew out the window first.

Energy roller coaster

This meant that I started strong. Armed with my iPad, bullet journal, an array of colored pens, heaps of sticky notes, a vision board, and a lot of go-getting juice. Just to run out of steam a few weeks down the line. This became an up and down battle between going strong and feeling low energy, brain-cloud, over-worked or exhausted, stressed, anxious, irritated, and the like. The ‘downs’ would become more and stretch out over longer periods each time until I have to take a vacation to reset.

Resetting

During my vacation time, I would start feeling clear-minded and rested after some time. I would have all these new creative ideas rushing to me. I absolutely love this feeling. I have energy and want to do and try all sorts of new things, go places, and be social. I feel ready to take on new and exciting things. I read books and brainstorm with my husband. We have interesting conversations, and we plan and dream about the future. This makes me feel excited, creative, and alive. Why can’t I feel this way when I’m home in my normal routine?

There is no reason. I work for myself and I love my job. I do not have pressure other than the pressure I put on myself. Yes, I have a lot of things going on at once, but they are manageable. This made me realize that things need to change.

What do I Need?

It is obvious that things like work, studies, and hobbies are important. I’m working towards my goals in doing these things and income is important. But, if I’m not in good shape to be able to do these things properly and effectively, it’s useless. My progress is slow and my life is less fulfilling. My creativity is stifled and I go about my days on autopilot.

I need to prioritize myself above these other things. In order to accomplish what I set out to do, become what I dream of, and be who I can be for the people around me. I need to put the things that my future-self needs, first.

The one main thing that I need to be my best, is health.

Physical, Emotional, and Mental Health

Find what works for you. It needs to be sustainable over a long period, it must become a new lifestyle. Consistency is key.

Trying to do too much too fast will not be sustainable and will fall flat. This is tried and tested. Be realistic about your lifestyle and what diet, movement, and emotional health needs you have. It’s a very personal thing and each individual may vary. Beware of blindly following some celebrity or influencer, yes, they might have good tips and ideas, so use that. But you need to find what works for you and commit to it.

What you put in

If I’m fueling my body with rubbish food, starving myself, or overindulging, I cannot expect it to perform well. I will become tired more easily and have low energy or headaches. Tiredness snowballs into moodiness and irritability and even feeling down and depressed. It’s never a good idea to jump from one diet fad to the next. It’s important to read up about nutrition to understand your body and its needs.

Too much of anything is usually not a good thing, find balance. Going to extremes with our diet usually does not pay off because it’s not sustainable.

Keep moving

Our bodies need to move. It really doesn’t matter what you do, find something that works for you. From hiking or walking to gardening, running, dancing, or adventure sports. Exercise or movement plays a big role in stress relief, emotional health, and physical health. Do something, even if you feel it’s not enough. It’s better to do a little bit than to do nothing at all.

You might find the thought of fitting exercise into your routine impossible, that is until you do it. Suddenly, you will see that there is time for it and wonder how you did without it. Don’t make it difficult. It doesn’t have to be an hour of burning lungs and sweat splashing, unless that’s your thing, of course. The physical activity guidelines for adults are 20 to 30min of exercise daily is good enough. Especially if you are just starting out.

Heart and mind

There are numerous ways to sort through our thoughts, emotions, and problems. These may include a gratitude journal, prayer, writing, journaling, meditation, or therapy. Again, you need to figure out what you need and find what works for you.

Quieting myself and reflecting on the day through journaling helps me to take stock of my emotions and of the day’s events. To not ignore them but handle and process them as they pop up. If my journaling and prayer are regular, there’s no trapped stress and emotions. My mind is at ease and free to focus on and process other things.

It’s Obvious, Not Easy

We all know the significance of the things mentioned above, it’s not new news. But, coming to the realization that what I’m doing today truly affects me tomorrow is not that easy. We tend to be short-sighted and therefore fall into the trap of immediate gratification. Instead of thinking long-term.

I tend to think that there’s always more time to make the necessary changes; whilst time is slipping by, day by day, month by month, and year by year. There’s a mindset change that needs to take place. Decide.

Why not today? Why not now?

Now that I look at it, it’s really obvious. But it wasn’t before. I kept thinking that I will make changes in looking after myself tomorrow, next week, or in the near future. These aspects always formed part of my goals but usually draw the short straw when life happens. I’m too tired to exercise or journal or to make a nutritious meal or pay attention to my husband. I kept thinking that one day I will eat like this and exercise like that, but why not today? Why not now?

I haven’t been doing my future self any favors. Time will pass and I will look back and wonder why I haven’t done all the things that I aspired to do. I need to think of my future self today and make the changes.

What excites you and brings out that spark in you?

We need to do whatever it takes to be truly content and enjoy our lives. We only have this one so we better make it count. It’s not worth it to waste time on a monotonous, boring, or unhappy life, just going through the motions. Do what makes your soul happy.

My hope is that this article will inspire you to think about what you want and what your future self needs. Quit putting off properly looking after yourself, you deserve it.

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Among others I am a photographer, dive professional, ocean conservationist and aspiring writer. Writing from my experiences, I hope to inspire.

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Madelein Wolfaardt

Madelein Wolfaardt

Among others I am a photographer, dive professional, ocean conservationist and aspiring writer. Writing from my experiences, I hope to inspire.

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