I’ve been talking to people about life and aspirations. Most folks yearn for something that requires pushing past their current situation, which involves personal growth. Yet, those same people are quick to offer up reasons why they can’t possibly pursue that goal. One of the most popular excuses: no time.

Interestingly, my experience (and that of people I’m talking to) is self-improvement does not have to take a ton of time. You could be journaling, or reflecting on your day, or sharing a thought with a close friend and suddenly something clicks. Insight. It’s the fuel for self-improvement and it can happen in an instant, so we often describe it as an Ah-ha Moment.

Internalizing that insight so it propels you towards your goal or enables your growth is the trickier part. How can we make this part of the process as short and sweet as possible? Two suggestions: 1) Accept what you’ve discovered and 2) Make the most of your time. 

Internalizing your insights is challenging because we fight against it. We’ve piled up our worries and anxieties; we’ve created limiting beliefs and habits. These become the source of the blockage; ultimately because we are afraid to deal with difficult emotions like fear and anger, even if doing so is beneficial. The sooner you confront those feelings, the quicker you put the new insight to work. Maya Angelou said, “When people show you who they are, believe them.” This applies to what your inner self shows you too. 

When you encounter that big insight, accept it and follow it, it’s going to take you where you need to go. It may make you uncomfortable, especially as you change old behaviors, but if you practice reinforcing strategies and habits you can get past that. 

The key is making time for those strategies and new habits in your jam-packed schedule. The time is there, but you need to locate it. Here are five options for finding time for personal growth when you have no time. 

  1. Arrive ten minutes early – We all have that friend who is habitually 10 minutes late. You find a spot, settle in, and wait. What if, instead of getting aggravated, you saw that as You Time? Even better, get there ten minutes early and now you have enough time to lean into one of your insight internalizing activities. Amazing breakthroughs can happen in 10 to 20 minutes of journaling. 
  2. Waiting for the kids, car or takeout order – Don’t get spun up wondering why it takes so long for the mechanic to finish your car or the kids to get their backpacks or your order to come out, put these moments to use for self-connection. Do a visualization, a mini-meditation or a reflection. You need to be present and truthful with yourself to challenge fears and remove self-limiting beliefs. Ten minutes is probably longer than you’ve spent focused on Self in a while.
  3. Crush Candy Crush – Goodness I hate to even bring this up, but do we really need that much time with our games? Use them to relax or take a little break. In place of pushing on to the next level, why not spend a few minutes thinking about what is creating all that stress you are escaping. Most of us have become so accustomed to dealing with the fallout from our daily pressures that we don’t even consider the sources of stress or ways to eliminate/monitor them. Use five to ten minutes of your game time to check in with yourself about your stress level, what caused it and how its impacting you.
  4. Social Media Slowdown – Whether we want to admit it or not, deep down we all know that we spend way too much time connecting and sharing with others. As a result, we leave no time to focus on ourselves. A full SM blackout is unlikely, but what about a slowdown? Eliminate just one platform this week and you’ll probably gain 25 minutes or more to spend on your personal goals. Connect with yourself and your big insight. Explore it further with targeted self-study like an online course, reading, or a podcast.
  5. Binging TV – Let’s face it, sometimes we need a good TV binge. So binge away, but when your inner voice says, “I’m ready to do something else”, honor that. Watch one less episode and use the time to review your thoughts and notes from your latest coaching/therapy/BFF advice session. Very often big breakthroughs come from tiny nudges provided by other people. Use the time to think deeply and authentically about what was said. Consider how you feel about that or what big impacts small changes could make for you.

Here’s a bonus option: Turn off some of your notifications. I find breaking news alerts particularly disruptive. Not only do I re-read the same, often unverified news, it then clouds my train of thought, making getting back to what I was doing twice as difficult. Commit to the news once a day. You’ll stay informed and you’ll likely get back at least 30 minutes. That’s enough time to read, meditate, participate in a personal growth network or online community or any number of other personal growth activities.

We’re all guilty of occasionally using “no time” as a justification. Personal growth doesn’t have to be hours of intense work. Look closely at your day. With the right resources and a willingness to make the effort, you can find time for yourself and your aspirations.

Read on (Sources):

There are two mindsets that stop you from being as successful and happy as you can be, Susie Moore, The Business Insider, Nov. 20, 2017, 3:47 PM (http://www.businessinsider.com/2-types-of-fear-that-hold-everyone-back-from-success-and-happiness-2017-11)