How Building New Habits Can Give You More “Me Time"

All too often we find ourselves racing the clock, tending to tasks that might seem important in the here-and-now, but that often leave us feeling unfulfilled at the end of the day. For a lot of people, that might mean spending all of their time on work, school, or any other myriad of trivial obligations. When you take a step back, you might find that a lot of your habits and routine are all focused on aspects of your life, which, at the end of day, bring you little intrinsic happiness. However, it only takes a little self-awareness to change this, and focus your life (and free time) around the things that make you happy.

Recognize What You Can Change

It is going to be the littlest things that are probably easiest to start with. For instance, waking up to more or less go straight to work may not be the best way to start your day. If you feel as if work has taken over your life, the solution can be as simple as doing things before work. For some, this might mean having to wake up a little earlier.

Set aside an additional half-hour each morning for yourself. Play a little music, write, read, or even play a video game or watch a TV show. It might take a little time for you to adjust to a new sleep schedule, but you might find that waking up to do something you enjoy goes a long way towards helping your mood and your outlook on life.   

Change Your Daily Schedule

Making a habit of using your time after work or school to do things you enjoy is another good step towards getting more enjoyment out of your day. Going home right away might seem appealing, but once you hit the couch and turn on the TV you are likely to just stay in for the night.

Instead, make it a habit to go to places you enjoy and unwind there for a bit. It could be a park, a restaurant, or even the gym. Getting into the habit of going places or doing different activities right after work will not only give you more time to yourself, but also something to look forward to after work. Having other activities in your schedule will make your time spent at work seem like less, and make your day all the more fulfilling.  

Out with the Old, in with the New

Once you know what you want to add to your routine, you can start to kick some of your old habits and begin to develop new ones. Having a set of goals in mind is a great way to accomplish this! If that means waking up earlier to have more free time in your day, you might need to start going to bed a little earlier. If it's going somewhere right after work, you might need to start bringing an extra pair of clothes to work with you, or pack a late afternoon snack or sandwich to keep your energy up. 

Kicking old habits is easiest when you replace them with new, more productive ones. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be a breeze, but knowing you are spending time doing things that make you happy, and sticking to your plan to accomplish your new goals, will help you get more enjoyment out of day-to-day life.

Involve Other People

The hardest part of a starting a new habit or routine is having the discipline to stick to your plan of action. This is where friends can come especially handy. If you are able to find people with similar goals and interests, you can work together to keep each other on track. Having a friendly support system will make abandoning your new goals that much more difficult, but social support may work better for some goals than others.

For example, finding a friend to go jogging with in the morning can help you wake up earlier because you can call and bug each other to get out of bed, but making sure you get to bed a little earlier at night is something you will likely have to do on your own. Still, involving other people is a sure fire way to give yourself the boost you might need to make these habits stick.