5 Simple Tips For Putting Yourself First (And Why You Need to Learn Them)

Have you ever heard someone say ‘it’s not all about what you want’ or ‘it’s not just about you’?

Jesse Kerema
Jan 20, 2018 · 7 min read

I have. A lot. Particularly over the past year because I’ve been making a habit of putting myself first, instead of dropping everything and tending to everyone else’s needs.

Something I’ve noticed since the beginning of 2017, is that people want everything done for them and if it doesn’t go their way, they’ll throw a tantrum.

Six months ago, I was invited to one of my friends birthday parties. I wouldn’t say he was a great friend but he was a good one. We’d hang out a fair bit and generally end up getting drunk and going to night clubs.

For the people who’ve been reading my stories, you would know that I don’t drink anymore. Purely out of choice. It’s not that I’m against it. I’ve just found that the amount of money and time I’ve saved from not drinking outweighed actually drinking.

So my friends birthday was coming up and in my new mindset of relentlessly chasing my goals I’d completely forgotten about it and when the invite came I kindly declined.

I didn’t have other plans. I hadn’t double booked. I simply didn’t want to spend a night at a pub around the people I was trying to break away from. I wanted to work on my goals not f*ck around drinking beer and spending the next day hungover.

For a bit of context, these people spent their week either drunk, hungover or high. I’ve never gotten into drugs but I did get into drinking. So it was only natural that I didn’t want to be around them.

After I declined he wanted a reason. So I gave him one.

‘Hey man, I’m not trying to be rude but I’ve got a lot of work I want to get done and won’t be able to make it. Happy Birthday and I hope you have a great night! xx’

What followed was a shit tonne of ‘why’s’ and a whole lot of crap.

Was I Being Selfish?

You have every right to chase your goals 100% of the time and to not let things like; birthdays, breakfast catch ups or holidays get in the way.

You really only have a few opportunities in life to really break through and get ahead.

I’ve had two so fair.

One was my first business, which failed. My second one is right now and I’m not letting people’s opinions or pointless events get in the way of that.

If you want to get ahead, you need to start putting yourself first and prioritising your goals.

1. Learn to Say No

Everything and everyone wants to take up all your time.

If you don’t get comfortable with saying no, you’ll never have any time to work on your goals.

Luckily, there’s an easy way to learn.

Your lesson, Young Grasshopper

I did this by saying no to everything I got invited to for 7 days straight.

That’s it.

I just said no to everything and focused on myself for 7 days.

Birthday invites, catching up with friends, phone calls. All got rejected and to my surprise nothing bad happened. No one died, the world didn’t end and I didn’t miss out on anything important.

After those 7 days, it was much easier for me to decline the things I didn’t want to attend or didn’t want to get involved with.

2. Prioritise

The whole point of this article is to get you over the hurdle of worrying about selfishness and to start focusing on your goals. Considering this, I don’t mean knowing which tasks are the most important (that’s another lesson), I mean learning to put your goals ahead of everything.

There’s really only one way to master this:

Plan your day around your goals, not your goals around your day.

Only you know whether you’re doing this or not and it takes a fair bit of honesty.

You know whether you should be working or getting drunk and only you can make the decision to do what you should instead of what you want.

A quick process to help:

  1. Start off your day with a positive routine.
  2. Don’t stop until everything is done. This is the most important. It’s very easy to stop when you’re tired and put off your tasks until tomorrow but if you really want to achieve your goals you need to be willing to push through.

3. Stay Consistent

This means that if you’ve made the decision to chase your goals. Stick to it.

If that includes giving up alcohol. Stick with it and turn down anything that might tempt you.

If you work best from 7:00pm till 11:00pm, like I do, don’t schedule social activities during this time. It’s really hard to build up a habit of choosing your goals over a social life. If you don’t stay consistent, you will lose.

You can also use consistency to condition your friends to leave you out of certain activities. If you’re constantly turning down the same type of event, eventually they’ll stop inviting you to them. It’s just the struggle of the initial push. There’s always backlash and you might loose friends in the process.

4. Remembering Your Why

Read them once, twice, three times. Put them everywhere.

You need to remember your why. It’s the reason you’re doing all of this. It’s the reason you jump out of bed every morning excited to smash out the day.

It’s the reason you’re becoming a hermit crab and people are starting to think you’re weird.

It’s because you’ve found that burning desire. That one thing you need.

Whenever I’m faced with a decision that requires me to either put myself first or give into temptation, I like to imagine the future.

I imagine myself having already achieved my goals and I ask myself these two questions:

  1. Who’s there? Who are the people that are still in my life? This will tell you a lot about the decisions you need to make.
  2. Do I still care? To give you a bit of perspective i’ll provide some context. When I close my eyes and imagine myself having already achieved my goals, I’m standing on a stage with a room full of people who are all there to hear the lessons I’ve learnt. Do you really think I care if I missed that birthday party 3 years ago? No! But I do care about missing days of writing because without writing, I’ll never get to where I want to go.

5. Lose Your Expectations

The road goes both ways and you need to be aware of that.

If you’re going to constantly put yourself first, don’t expect anyone else to put you first.

Like I said, you’ll loose friends and those friends will talk and you’ll hear rumours. You’ll also stop getting invited to things and this is why it’s key to remember your why and keep pushing for that goal!

Don’t give up. It will all pay off.

Don’t let number 5 put you off. Everyone with a goal is having the same experiences and if you want them to ever be achieved you need to start putting yourself first. If you don’t, you’ll be doomed to work on other people’s goals and tend to other people’s needs.

Take a stand and start running. You have too much to do to be spending time thinking about what other people think of you.

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