I feel better when I do yoga regularly but I have a hard time building the habit. After thinking it through, I've realized that I've been caught in a classic priority battle. Here's what I mean.
Doing yoga feels like it's at the expense of something else:
- In the morning: Yoga vs. sleep
- At night: Yoga vs. time with my husband
- On the weekend: Yoga vs. time with my family
- While my daughter is at school: Yoga vs. career
So when the time comes to decide whether or not to roll out my mat, I feel the unpleasant tension that arises when my values conflict. I call this a "priority battle" because it feels like human-like-replicas of my priorities are battling it out inside my gut. Sometimes yoga wins, sometimes family wins. Sleep almost always wins.
Priority battles are not specific to yoga, though. In fact, I find they're most common as related to career. For many of us, our careers are an important part of our identities and our livelihoods and are therefore a priority. But by continually putting our careers first we are de-prioritizing other aspects of our lives.
Here are a few examples:
- Staying late at work: Career vs. exercise/cooking for ourselves/being with our loved ones
- Working on the weekends: Career vs. spending time with loved ones
- Traveling for work: Career vs. sleeping well/spending time with family/eating well
The truth is, sometimes Career needs to win in order to stay employed, get promoted, support the team, hit that deadline, etc. But if Career always wins the little battles, it ends up winning the biggest battle of them all - Career vs. Your Health.
So what's a real-life, high-achieving, ladder-ascending, guy or gal to do? Here are a few steps that help me along the way:
- First, rather than getting caught up in the race, take note of when these battles are happening and acknowledge that you always have a choice (it may not always feel like a viable one, but there is always a choice).
- Second, realize that it doesn't have to be all or nothing. In other words, working late a few days per week doesn't mean you always have to do so. Traveling, doesn't give you an excuse to survive on cookies and pumpkin spice lattes alone.
- Third, get clear on what your priorities are right now and acknowledge that they are always changing. For example, if you've recently had a baby it may be time to prioritize family for a little while. That doesn't mean your career will never come first. Or if a promotion is right around the corner, it may be time to put in a few more hours at work. That doesn't mean you always have to keep up this pace.
The topic of Career vs. Health is so near and dear to my heart that I'm opening up several health coaching spots exclusively for individuals who are looking to make healthier choices while keeping up with their careers. In addition, I'm looking for corporations who are passionate about employee wellness and interested in hosting workshops and programs specifically around this topic. Please share this with all of the hard-working go-getters out there and drop me a note at www.realfoodhouse.com/connect to learn more about working together.
Cheers to you,