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Why Your Most Important Appointment Is the Booking You Make with Yourself

Photo by Jessica Lewis on Unsplash

Do you keep the appointments you make with other people but compromise or cancel appointments that you make with yourself?

For example, do you have bookings in your calendar or agenda for things like,

  • your workout;
  • date night with your significant other;
  • play time with your kids;
  • meditation, or;
  • personal growth?

Not all these types of events need to be on your calendar. Everyone is different. You may have habits that have become routine and happen without needing to be reminded.

For example, I’ve been working out for almost 35 years. I don’t need to schedule gym time. I’m simply there, most weekday mornings at about 7am. Physical exercise is one of my self-care appointments that I will only allow myself to miss for 1–2 days at most, because I know how crappy I’ll feel, how poorly I think and work, if I don’t take care of my body.

What self-care habits are routine in your life?

What do you do on a daily or weekly basis to take care of yourself that never appears on your calendar? What always gets done with consistency, without argument or resistance?

Conversely, what appointments or habits do you NEED to book in your calendar?

For example, in the past I would compromise many of my “self-appointments.” I de-prioritized them as something unimportant or that I could maybe do later. These were important habits like writing and meditation. Writing allows me to express my creativity and helps me develop content for my coaching business. Meditation helps me with clarity, focus, calmness and peace of mind.

Too easily I would book something else as “more important” in my calendar. Yet I would still turn up ahead of time for a booking I made with someone else (e.g. a client). Of course, that’s a good thing in business, but the question is why wasn’t I as committed to myself as I was with my clients?

What is a booking?

When I book time with a client, that’s an agreement that we will both show up at the same time and location to transact whatever business we agreed to do. If I don’t show up for a client I don’t get paid, I leave a bad impression, and I jeopardize our working relationship.

What happens when you make similar bookings?

The same is true for business related projects and tasks. If for some reason I can’t deliver to a client on time, I contact them to explain and apologize. There’s usually no issue, especially if the delay is for a good reason, like the task requires more time to get done properly.

But what if I plan to take care of myself by booking time to meditate in my calendar? What happens then?

The appointments we make with ourselves often seem less important, an agreement we allow ourselves to break. Why do we let ourselves off the hook, so to speak? We might make (seemingly) good excuses like, ‘I need to spend more time getting this paid project completed’, or, ‘Clients get priority while I’m still in startup mode!’

There are of course consequences to cancelling the time we allocated to taking care of ourselves, yet we pretend they’re not important — because they don’t involve someone else.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Expectations versus agreements

How do you “keep” the appointments you make for yourself? We need to understand our self-care appointments as agreements to keep, and not expectations.

What I mean is that when we expect to do something, and then we don’t, we may feel a negative emotional response to our perceived “failing”. This happens with expectations, be those for ourselves or others. There will always be a higher standard to reach with expectations, and as such expectations are self-referential.

If you can shift your perception of making appointments with yourself as an agreement, you can track the data and not the drama. Expectations are emotionally-based. Agreements are factual: something gets accomplished or it doesn’t. There may be reasons for something not being accomplished, which can be useful information for making future decisions.

It’s a very different mental framing dialogue when you say to yourself, “I chose to cancel my morning meditation that helps me with clarity, focus, calmness and peace of mind, in favour of working with a client.”

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Are you spending too much time on the small stuff or are you focusing on what’s most important in you life? Action usually comes before motivation and one’s desired mental state of happiness (which requires self-care). Notice how your mental state changes after you act purposefully and meaningfully.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Implement the 3 Ss to be your BEST self

Here’s the truth: this article is about much more than keeping appointments you make with yourself. It’s about managing yourself to live out the best of who you are.

Many of us attempt the solve the problem of not keeping appointments with ourselves backwards. We think, “OH! I just need to schedule my time better.” Instead, consider first establishing the structure of your ideal day and week. Next, set up the systems you will use to make things happen. Finally schedule only the necessary appointments that are critical to your success and that you are committed to accomplishing.

1. Establish Structure

Structure consists of the things and environments that surround us; the steps we put in place to ensure that things get done, e.g.,

  • A daily or weekly routine that helps you stay organized, or;
  • A healthy well-stocked kitchen and prepared meals, ready to enjoy.

Ask yourself: What needs to be in my environment in order to help me be more efficient? What will support me so that I’m not distracted by the “small stuff”?

2. Utilize Systems

Systems are the processes and practices we use to make things happen. Examples of systems include,

  • An evening ritual to review progress in your day, journalling to express gratitude, making a plan for tomorrow, setting out your gym or work clothes, etc.;
  • A morning routine to help you have the most effective day (something that helps you get into the flow of thinking, reading for personal growth, watching funny cat videos, etc.), or;
  • Doing a mobility warm up to get your body ready for a workout so that you don’t hurt your joints.

Ask yourself: What needs to happen for me to be most effective? What processes and practices need to be in place?

3. Schedule

Once you have a structure and systems in place, you can schedule the what, when, duration, and frequency of tasks and habits.

Book your personal and self-care habits and appointments that are critical to “who you are being”, just as you would any other appointment. Make self-care a priority, an agreement with your best self, and then commit to showing up!

The 3s are simply habits.

Ask yourself, “Which of these winning habits can I incorporate into my life right now?”

When you cultivate and strengthen your being, not only will you be happier, but others will benefit from you living out the best of who you are.

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing. (Vince Lombardi)

This article is based on the “Life By Design” Step in my ADD Coaching Methodology.

Daren helps people LIVE OUT the best of who they are, to let go of what’s holding them back and LIVE INTO their unique gifts to make their world a better place.

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Darren Stehle

Darren Stehle

🏳️‍🌈 Coaching & Thinking Partnerships for LGBTQ+ people to become impactful creators, change-makers or leaders in their niche.

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