Just What Kind of Person Do You Want to Be?
Just as you wouldn’t blow off a meeting with your boss, you should never bail on appointments you make with yourself.
Nir Eyal, Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life
If you’ve flown on a commercial aircraft in the last 50 years, you know that you should put on your own oxygen mask before helping others.
You also know that in general you should take care of yourself so you can care for others.
Yet you have difficulty doing that.
You’ve heard that the single most important thing you can do for your physical and mental well-being is exercise.
So, you tell yourself that you will go to the gym when you have time. Of course, you never “have time.”
And if you did have time, you would forget to go until it was too late. Or you wouldn’t have enough time to do anything significant. Or you wouldn’t have your things ready.
After much frustration and guilt, you realize that the only way you will ever have time to exercise is if you put it on your schedule.
So, you jot the appointment on your calendar, but you subconsciously rate this as a low-priority obligation.
Everything else seems more important.
The smallest distraction keeps you away from the gym.
The frustration and guilt become even stronger.
The problem is that your workout appointment is not a real appointment.
A real appointment requires preparation, but your gym bag was not prepared and placed by the door the night before.
A real appointment is not bumped except for a true emergency, but when asked if you are free tomorrow at 7:00 for coffee you say yes.
A real appointment is an obligation you make, and your ability to fulfill that obligation is an expression of your values.
But you don’t see the obligations you make to yourself as real.
However, if you want to be a person who does what they say they will do, you must also keep your obligations to yourself.
The cost of breaking those obligations is greater than just missing an exercise session.
You are violating your own values.
You are not being the person you want to be.
Don’t wait until you “have time” to do the things that are important to you.
Put them on your calendar.
And treat them just like any other appointment.
Remember, a person who does what they say they will do is faithful to the obligations they make to themselves.
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