Has the lockdown given you a period of rest and reflection or have you been desperately trying to save your business and adapt to a new client-base? Either way, the lockdown has forced us to adapt to new constraints and limitations, and for the most part we’ve managed that well. I’m not saying it’s been easy though. Have you, at some point thought about how you were working and spending your time before the lockdown? Have you been thinking that you don’t really want to do that anymore? Change can be hard; not just for you to make changes but for the people around you to accept those changes as well.
“This has to change”
If you typically work a sixty or seventy hour week for instance, your colleagues may well be taken aback with your plans to work a forty hour week in future. You want to improve your work/life balance and enjoy time with family and friends much more. “Oh, it won’t last!” they’ll say, “you’ll be reading emails at midnight again in no time!”. How do you manage other people’s expectations when you’re absolutely committed to making changes? My advice is stick to your plans rigidly and don’t give an inch. If you do, your resolve can start to waver.
Why would people want to sabotage your plans? Could your aims to be happier and healthier make them feel conscious about their own behaviours? Could it be that if you’re making changes and improvements, they might feel under more pressure to do the same?! Food and alcohol are great examples of when other people can sabotage your progress and working less hours is no different.
There are very strong social aspects to drinking alcohol and anyone that’s tried to reduce their intake has probably been encouraged not to bother with it at some point. “Just have one!” your good friend will say. Alcohol is so embedded in our social culture in this country that we prefer it if everyone is making the same mistakes! Eating healthily can attract the same feedback. We go from “oh, you look fabulous!” to “there’ll be nothing of you! Don’t lose too much”. If you look to make improvements in your life, there may well be some saboteurs lurking in your social network. The problem is they can be disguised as the people that love and care about you!
Focus on your progress
So how can you manage the saboteurs? Stick to what you want to do, be very clear every day about why you’ve decided to make the changes and what the benefits are. Feel proud of the progress you’re making. “I worked forty-two hours last week and did a good job. I was more effective because I wasn’t feeling so exhausted”. When a saboteur says something like “I could’ve done with a response to that email last night really”, don’t flinch or feel guilty. Just say “well let’s have a look at it now!”. And smile.
Be very clear that you’re glad to make the changes you’ve decided on and you won’t be deterred by a perceived criticism. People seem to think that if you make changes for the better, you’ll start to judge everyone else’s behaviours but I don’t think that’s true. I’m always glad when someone’s managing their life really well, even if I’m not in that place. I’m not jealous, I just know I’m not quite there yet.
Feel proud of your achievements
Decide what you want to do and stick to it. With determination you’ll brush away the negativity that will almost certainly be directed at you at some point and you’ll move forward with a smile and a happy heart. What’s not to love about that?!
Karen Warren is a Personal Development Specialist and the owner of KW Inner Strength.
You can get in touch with Karen via her website here