Putting you first is more than a seductive, self-help catch phrase. When I started making my “big picture for life” a priority and backed up my desires through my choices and actions, I started experiencing unbelievable developments. It completely changed my life. This is precisely why I teach all my clients how to do the same in their daily lives. Life moves so fast these days. Learning how to direct yours more efficiently will pay big dividends in satisfaction and greater peace of mind. In case you’re unclear about what I mean when I say “put you first,” check out my blog post Putting You First: The power behind the catchy slogan.

Before we get into the meat and potatoes, it’s essential to recognize that you have relationships with more than just people. Virtually everything you have an association or connection with constitutes a relationship. Therefore it’s super important to grasp that you are the only common denominator in all of those relationships —which means the one you possess with yourself is vital to how you set up and manage all the others. I say this because as we look at the following 5 ways to put you first, you’ll notice the examples go beyond the way you relate and interact with people...

Your Schedule —What kind of schedule are you keeping? Few people think about putting themselves first in the relationship they have with their calendars, yet without taking care of yourself, you’ll inevitably burn out. Even worse, when you’re operating on reserves, you’re not giving anyone or anything, close to your best. Over-scheduling also causes unnecessary added stress. The relationship you have to your schedule is crucial because it establishes how you value your time in addition to how you value your wellbeing. No matter what your career or daily responsibilities entail, you have the power to schedule certain aspects of your life around you. Managing the relationship you have with your calendar is one of the most powerful ways to put you first. Start by scheduling you time that enables you to catch your breath, take inventory and be sure your basic health needs get fulfilled. You’ll enjoy a greater sense of productivity, satisfaction and peace of mind.

Your Commitments —With every new technological device engineered to save us time and increase our productivity, we heap more tasks on our plates leaving us with serious mental indigestion on a regular basis. We have more to do and less time to fulfill those commitments. It’s become the norm to live at the mercy of our commitments instead of retaining a sense of control and direction by choosing what we do and when we do it. Now I understand you can’t always dictate when you’re going to show up at work for example, however you often have more power than you choose to exercise. In truth the majority of the commitments you make are not related to keeping a roof over your head or food on the table, which is why learning how to put you first when making commitments will go a long way in preserving your sense of sanity. Start by factoring your state of mind, health and personal needs into potential commitments you’re considering. Identify where those commitments bring value to your life. Check in with yourself realistically about how they fit within the overall scheme of things and prioritize. If your only goal at the end of the day is to be alive, then you’ll likely run yourself ragged regularly. Be honest about how much you can, should and desire to heap on yourself. Think before you commit and weigh your choices against the bigger picture you have for your life.

Single-Task! In spite of all the progress we’re making, people feel more scattered today than ever —and there’s no mystery as to why. Technology has made multi-tasking the norm whether you’re working, driving or trying to pick up a simple gallon of milk. If you’re not talking, you’re texting or sending emails from your smart phone. I can be as guilty of it as the next person but the reality is no one gets your best when your attention and focus are split into several different places mentally, emotionally and physically. One of the best ways to put you first is by taking a time out from multi-tasking. Just as your computer needs an occasional reboot, constant interaction and split concentration wears you down and burns out your internal batteries too. Put you first by taking some time every day to single task. Leave your phone in the car for the 15 minutes that you shop. Set a time to shut the computer and cell phone off at night. Give someone your undivided attention with some uninterrupted face to face, and eye to eye conversation. It’s powerful and it’s getting lost along with your sanity and sense of peace. Choose to put you first and take it back.

Give yourself a Daily dose of Nurturing As children we’re typically motivated to do something with the promise of a reward upon completion. In generations past, gathering around the table for a great meal often served as an end of the day reward. These days whether single, married, with or without a family, very few people find ways to acknowledge their mere existence —and there’s nothing worse than losing sight of what it’s all for. You can get more out of life by taking just five minutes in a day to paint clear polish on your nails, play with the dog, look at something beautiful or reflect on a positive moment from your day. The intention and action of creating a moment for you, shows yourself care. When I was growing up, my parents made time for themselves by establishing their alone time and instructing us to entertain ourselves for a while, which no doubt contributed to the successful marriage they’ve enjoyed for more than 40 years. You CAN take time for you if choose to make it a priority. Check in with yourself. Ask yourself what you need. Identify the things that like a lifeline, pull you out of the daily tide and give you a sense of warmth. Then put you first by giving yourself a dose daily…

Give Yourself Permission to Cancel –Trying to leap tall buildings in a single bound, manage fifteen after school activities, attend every networking event and consistently be everything to everybody is not practical. It also doesn’t support your health or promote a sense of sanity and self-love. Superman and Superwoman are Superheroes. Like it or not, we are human beings who can make better strides and accomplish greater things when we treat ourselves as such and recognize when something has to give. Despite being brought up to honor my commitments, I finally came to realize that sometimes in the game of the life you just need to bench yourself. Giving yourself permission to cancel plans is another powerful way to put you first in your life. We’ve grown too accustomed to viewing invitations as obligations rather than gestures for our consideration. Consequently that sense of obligation often weighs heavily on the mind when we’re faced with a lack of energy or ability to follow through. Then there’s arrogance, which can seduce your ego into thinking whatever it is can’t possibly happen without you. Now I’m sure you’ll be missed but get over yourself. If you’re burnt out, need a break or plain don’t want to go... let it go and cancel.

When I first started advising people to put themselves first, it was because I’d learned what it meant and experienced how it changed all the aspects of my life for the better. There will always be deadlines. To catch up with everything is to have nothing to do. Instead, learn to live with the ebb and flow of all that comprises your life without becoming a slave to any of them. Put you first and give yourself the gift of more satisfaction by scheduling you time, and assessing the commitments you take on. Give yourself a daily dose of nurturing by single tasking and give yourself permission to cancel when you need additional you time, family time or single tasking time.
Once you start making yourself a priority in the choices you make on a daily basis, the life you’re living will give you much more satisfaction. We may not always have the ability to control the circumstances in our lives but we can play an integral role in directing them.

Author's Bio: 

Charly Emery is a personal strategist and television personality who is highly coveted for her hip, savvy business approach to life and love. The author of the new book, "Thank Goodness You Dumped His Ass: Use Those Mr. Wrongs to Lead You Straight to Mr. Right," Charly possesses a background in corporate consulting and personal transformation. A trauma survivor herself, she's intimately familiar with healing and identifying blocks, thus speaks directly from life experience. Known for cutting to the chase to get immediate results, Charly is a dynamic speaker and on-camera talent, who knows how to keep it simple, direct and effective. Get free advice from Charly by submitting your questions to her Q & A column at http://charlysense.com