By AMY WAGENKNECHT
For the Republic-Times
Every year we start off with great intentions. We write the resolutions: Lose weight. Save more money. Get organized. Quit smoking. Exercise.
Yet, according to an article in Forbes, studies have shown that less than 25 percent of people actually stay committed to their resolutions after just 30 days, and only 8 percent accomplish them.
What if I told you the fast track to reaching your goals is simply adding more pleasure into your life? Pleasure is all about bringing fun, beauty and joy into each day. Pleasure can come from sharing moments with your loved ones, listening to your favorite music, laughing with friends, reading a book by the fire or enjoying a delicious meal.
Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, we get so caught up in taking care of the people around us that we forget to take care of ourselves. We are running to after school activities, taking care of an elderly parent, swinging by the grocery store, taking the pet to the vet, cleaning the house and doing the laundry that we forget all about self-care.
As a result, we feel exhausted and have less energy. When we are low on energy, it leaves us stressed out and negatively affects our health. We get sick, burned out and unproductive. Let’s be honest, when this happens, no one wants to be near us.
“I don’t have enough time” or “I don’t have enough money” are two seldom heard objections. I get it. I was that person.
Like many of you, I got stuck in the cycle of my everyday “to do” list. I had no balance in my life. I’d wake up, work all day long, come home, eat dinner, go to bed, wake up, and do it all over. I was burning the candle at both ends.
I thought “I don’t have enough time to get the things on my list accomplished, how am I going to find the time to embed pleasure into my day?”
What I failed to recognize was not everything had to be done right away. Some things, many things, could wait. I also learned a magic trick. It’s a simple, yet profound question:
“What are you afraid is going to happen if you don’t ________?”
Fill in the blank. What are you afraid is going to happen if you don’t do the laundry in the next hour or the next day? What are you afraid is going to happen if you sit down and read a book for 10 minutes before you fix dinner? What are you afraid is going to happen if you ask your kids to make their own lunches? What are you afraid is going to happen if you don’t clean the house?
What I have come to learn is nothing bad will happen if I wait to do these things, if I ask someone to do it for me or if I don’t do them at all. Instead, when I take the time to go for a walk, read a book, or buy some fresh flowers, I am happier and more fulfilled. I’m more productive, too. I like myself more this way and so do the people around me.
In addition, pleasure doesn’t have to cost a penny. Pleasure can be going out to dinner or it can be having quiet prayer time. It can be buying a new outfit or snuggling in your pajamas by the fire. It can be going to see a movie or looking out your window and appreciating the sun is finally shining.
The most important thing is that you start adding the things you love to your day.
This week, upgrade your life by taking a step back and become a person who is devoted to taking care of yourself. Decide you are going to be dedicated to adding pleasure into your daily routine. Do more of what you love and make your heart happy! This in turn will motivate you to accomplish the goals you set.
Your challenge is to find three ways you can add pleasure into your life this week.
Amy Wagenknecht is a teacher in the Waterloo School District and a life coach specializing in helping women live, bigger, braver lives. For more information, visit amywagenknecht.com or email email@example.com.