We live in a world where instant gratification is the norm, so it’s no wonder why patience seems like not just a foreign concept, but an unattainable one. I mean, we can have dinner delivered from an app in 30 minutes, we can order groceries and have them at our door the next day, and can update all of our friends, family, and high school classmates we don’t care about in seconds on social media. How could we not expect everything to be hand-delivered to us in a matter of minutes?
Of course I understand the appeal of instant gratification and implementing the latest hack or trick. I mean, if research is telling me I should get 7-8 hours of sleep and my favorite athlete says the key to not pressing snooze is putting your alarm on the other side of the room, why would I put in months of time finding out how much sleep my body and mind need to perform best?
I’ll tell you why … because real, meaningful change is personal and takes time.
I use the sleep example above because that’s personal to me. After months of going to bed at all hours of the night, waking up at different times in the morning, and playing with the snooze button A LOT (I apologize to my husband for this one quite often), I’ve finally found my sweet spot: 7 hours and 15 minutes.
Sure, putting in so much time and work to find out that I need 15 more minutes than the standard research shows might sound a little excessive. However, when I wake up feeling well rested, can put in 10 hour workdays and not burn out, have high energy levels throughout the day, am exercising more regularly, and feel better about my body … every day and minute I put into figuring out MY optimal sleep time was worth it.
Now, I know you may be thinking “Sleep isn’t what I want to change in my life, it’s weight loss/negative thinking/meditating every day/etc.” Well, that same patience is the key to making any real, impactful change in your life. So, today I’d like to offer some advice on how to practice having more patience in your life.
First, pick ONE thing you want to change and commit to making that your personal priority. If you want to give this a timeline, I’ll help you out and let you know that there are only 107 days left in the year. But, no matter the time frame, make a promise to yourself right now that this will be your main focus. Choosing one thing and one thing only over a longer period of time allows you to take your time and find what feels right for you personally.
Second, identify at least one person you admire that has done what you hope to accomplish. This can be someone you know personally or even a public figure you look up to. After you identify that person, depending on your relationship, either ask them personally or research more about what it took to reach their goal. This exercise will give you real perspective on how much work change takes and acts a reminder that change also takes time.
Third, lean on the people around you. Tell your friends and family what you are working towards so they can help you achieve your goal and hold you accountable. Plus, who knows, you might inspire them to make a meaningful change in their life while you’re at it!
Finally, be kind to yourself. Everything we do think starts with the way we speak to ourselves, and that includes change and the patience it requires. If you’re constantly saying things to yourself like “I’ll never accomplish this goal”, “everyone around me is better than me”, or “this is a waste of my time because I’m going to fail anyway”, how the hell could you make this change a reality?! Give yourself the love you need and remind yourself often that you deserve the results that will come from your hard work.
And, in case you need to hear it: I’m proud of you for getting started right now and for putting in the time, energy, effort, and patience it makes to create the life you want.