I’ve realized in the past year that in order to reach my full potential, I desperately needed to focus on self-development. Since returning to “normal” life after a year of full-time travel, I decided to start my own business, focus on writing, and homeschool my son which meant completely giving up my career in Social Work.
This transition has been interesting. When I worked the typical 9-5, I always felt accomplished during my day. I’d wake up early, head to work, come home from work, and still have time for wife/mom duties in the evening. Now, I feel like I struggle. I am all over the place with my day. I often leave many tasks unfinished and end the day feeling like I didn’t have enough hours to complete everything.
Then I wondered… are there not enough hours? Am I taking on too much? Or am I just not efficient enough with my time? I started to become aware of how I used my time during the day. What exactly was the time sucker?
As I began to prioritize my quest for personal development, I knew I needed some type of inspiration. I perused several titles on Audible, looking for an e-book that would help me be a better person, and that’s when I came across “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. Within the first couple of chapters, it became evident that the small bad habits I had developed throughout my day were significantly affecting me. From the moment I woke up to the moment I went to bed, the actions I chose would completely throw me off.
For example, I had a habit of grabbing my phone and checking social media as soon as I woke up. I always told myself that I checked my phone in the morning to “read the news”, but even though that was my initial intent, I would inevitably find myself in the bottomless pit of continuous scrolling through Facebook and Instagram. Before I knew it, I would be 30 minutes to an hour deep. I would start my day with achy eyes from the blaring screen and my mood would be dependent on whatever I had just read. This would then create a domino effect for the rest of the day.
From my mood to even my health, I was consistently making bad decisions. My nighttime routine consisted of going to bed late because I stayed up watching Netflix. This would then lead to oversleeping which led to rushing in the morning and not having time to eat or prepare my lunch. I’d then find myself eating out, forcing myself to eat unhealthily and spending money I could have saved. At the end of my day, I would feel so frazzled that I told myself I needed quiet time alone to stay up and watch Netflix. Every day, I continued this unhealthy cycle and I wasn’t aware that this was affecting my workflow, my happiness, my diet, and even my bank account.
At the beginning of August, I caught myself scrolling through Instagram after completing a sponsored post. I always told myself that my Instagram was a business and truthfully it was. But the line between social media for work and social media for pleasure was very blurred. After completing this post, I scrolled through to engage with my followers, but I didn’t realize how long I had been scrolling until my eyes and my head started to hurt, and I began feeling anxious.
I put my phone down and reflected. I felt like crap and I was wasting time. THIS is why I haven’t reached my full potential. I realized I needed boundaries, I needed to be more organized, and I needed to make the most out of my days.
This realization was 25 days ago. In almost a month, I have significantly decreased my time on social media, I go to bed early and wake up before the sun comes up, I drink more water, spend less money on eating out, I’ve increased my daily exercise, and I’ve become more productive. But most importantly, in just 25 days, I feel so much better. Mentally, physically and emotionally. And the biggest culprit, my anxiety, has subsided. Even the panic attacks that randomly sneak up once a week are gone. For the first time in a long time, I feel… balanced.
So the question is, can I keep this up? Can I continue to build better habits one small action at a time? And will this help me reach my full potential? This month I have challenged myself to become the best version of me. In September, I will be sharing this journey as well as posting travel stories I have fallen so incredibly behind on. My hope is during this challenge, I will finally figure out how to live my best life.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and personal experience! Leave me a comment below and of course… wish me luck!