We all set great intentions to change our lives and find balance but the proof is in the pudding! How much priority do we really assign to the things we believe are most important to us, to what “matters most“.
If we really look at the actions we take, this tells us how much reality there is in what we say and what we intend to do. We may say; I am conscious of balance, mindfulness, setting goals or living by the priorities I value, but how much is just talking and good intention, as opposed to actually walking the talking?
These 3 C’s help to clarify where you are at and also a few tips to keep walking your talk.
C1 – Calendar
Take an honest look at how you spend your time. This shows you, quite clearly, the things you place the most importance on. The activities where you are focusing your time shows what “matters most” in your life.
I hate tracking things like what I eat, on a diet, but I do know it works. It raises awareness and helps us reflect on what is and isn’t working. A great exercise is to look at your calendar. Add in all the non-work and work activities. Do this for a few days to see patterns. Include the time spent doing exercise, meditation, time out and time with family and friends. You can easily do this in Outlook, using the Categories, to colour code your week, or simply in a paper journal.
If you are really serious about being healthy and active, how much time was there spent doing activities that lead you on that path. Ok? Too Little?
If you want expand your business or develop a new idea, learn a new skill, how much time was spent on that?
If you value your family, children, and other relationships, how much time, was allocated to them?
What is your calendar showing you about how you walk the talk?
C2 – Consistency
It is not just the fact that we assigned time, but also the regularity around the items that “matter most“. The consistency of our actions are what breeds success. It can be the small repeated steps, which all aid in building solid habits and changes we want to see.
I find a lot more success when trying to accomplish certain projects, to just block small segments of time, frequently, than attempt a big chunk at once.
It is this consistency in whatever you do, that leads to incremental improvement. I have been trying recently a short 7 minute workout. Finding time for exercise is often a challenge and for me, I like to spend the time in nature, walking my dog. I do however need something for strength. Rather than try and find time for an hour long strength session at the gym, this online session is just 7 minutes. I tell myself – surely I can fit in 7 minutes! 😊 It works! I am finding the exercises slightly easier after a couple of weeks. My mini sessions are showing incremental gains in strength. However, more importantly, I am building new habits, through the consistent behaviour.
Starting small is the key. These small steps are also a way to build in rituals. For example, having a morning ritual, that includes a few regular practices you want to embed in your life works magic.
Rituals lead to good habits, you can read more about rules, routines and rituals in my blog post here. Think about just a few routines you would like to instil. Walk the talk in baby steps, using consistency to pave the way.
C3 – Correction
The last C is Correction. Try as we might, it isn’t always possible to Walk the Talk. We get distracted, lose focus or something else takes precedence. Today is however, a brand new day. Even if you fell off your exercise or diet wagon yesterday, today is an opportunity to correct and continue. Get back on track.
Correcting is analysing your actions and reactions. If we take time to reflect on what has worked, (our past actions) and adjust accordingly we can continue to walk our talk and make it effective. Maybe it is as simple, as knowing that if you make time for something first thing in the day – it gets done, or if you commit to something in writing (or to another person) your likelihood of making it happen escalates. It is whatever works for you.
When things don’t go exactly as planned, we can simply acknowledge them and correct our plans for next time. It is now past so there is no point in beating ourselves up over it.
You can also look at your reactions. Look at what triggers you to go off track in the first place. Recognise when you need to “correct” your behaviour before it happens. I now see that my immediate reaction to a stressful email or work situation is usually the fridge. If I lose focus, and become unproductive, it is usually a sign, I am overdue a break.
Just being aware of what reactions we have, to certain circumstances help us to return to the path, where we truly can walk our own talk!
Note: I speak of the concept of “matters most” a lot in my book “Work Life Balance By Arse“. Take a look!