How to Prioritize Yourself Without Seeming Selfish

Woman consumed by society

Here we go again… another year full of hopes and dreams. The new you.

You start out strong and with good intentions, but your resolutions never seem to stick. Heck, if we’re being honest, even your neighbor’s Christmas decorations outlast your resolutions.

It’s not that you’re lazy or a quitter. It’s more that you’re… too nice. People count on you to make their lives better, not yours.

Remember that time you were trying to eat healthy, but your coworker guilted you into trying her break-up cupcakes?

How about the time you wanted to read more, but your spouse hated watching TV alone? You compromised and sat on the couch with your book, but you inevitably got sucked into Game of Thrones.

Sound familiar? We’ve all succumbed to the whims of others, but some of us are more susceptible than others (i.e. pushovers).

This leads us back to why you never follow through on your resolutions. It’s because you don’t make yourself a priority. You’re too concerned with helping others and downplay your importance.

If you’re not your number one priority, then there’s no point in setting goals. Go ahead and kiss all your dreams and ambitions goodbye.

That may sound extreme, but you probably need some straight talk. Instead of your usual health or financial goals, start out with one priority: you.

This idea may run counter to all you givers out there, but you’re more effective if you start from a place of abundance. Avoid burn out, by giving to yourself first. Then you’ll be supercharged and ready to help others — it’s a win-win situation.

If that sounds scary or improbable then you’re ripe for this kind of challenge. Make 2019 the year where you prioritize your happiness, first.

Stop Being So Darn Nice

We all know nice people and how they tend to get pushed around, maybe you’re one of them.

You always smile, but it’s really a force of habit. You never really speak your mind, but affirm other people’s opinions. You’re easy to get along with, but no one knows the real you.

Below are three pitfalls of nice people and ways they can tweak their behavior to their advantage.

1. You want to be liked.

→ Alternative: Be a good person and the right people will like you.

2. You’re a people pleaser.

→ Alternative: Be helpful when it’s convenient, but don’t bend over backwards.

3. You’re agreeable because you don’t like conflict.

→ Alternative: Voice your opinions or ideas, so people understand you better.

All it takes is a subtle shift in your actions and before you know it, you feel happier and energized. When your actions are in alignment with how you feel, you’re acknowledging your importance.

Now take your newfound energy and devote it toward a goal or resolution.

Delete FOMO

Look into your fear and question its validity. It’s hard to believe that every single time you’ve hung out with your friends you’ve had the time of your life. There’s a good chance only half of those times were memorable and even that may be generous.

Yet, there you sit scrolling through a friend’s social media posts from the night before, feeling jealous and left out. You see people smiling and having fun… without you.

Close the app and remember it’s all a façade. Smoke and mirrors. Think of all the times you posed for a photo, knowing it was fake.

→ Alternative: Delete your social media apps for 24 hours and reclaim hours of mindless scrolling.

Taking a break from your apps may be the perfect reset to get your priorities in order. Instead of focusing on what others think, try to remember what’s important to you.

Take back wasted time and get in touch with yourself.

You’re Not Mother Teresa

A lot of us have a nurturing and supportive side, but sometimes it can backfire and turn into a martyr identity. We can’t all be Mother Teresa, so stop trying to fix everyone’s life.

Your impulse to offer up help and support to others comes from a good place. However, at a certain point you have to stop and wonder why you’re so helpful?

Sometimes it’s easier to deal with other people’s problems rather than our own. We can trick ourselves into believing we’re kind and selfless, when really we’re avoiding our own problems.

→ Alternative: Flip the script and see what needs fixing in your life.

You may be surprised to find what’s lurking beneath the surface. One of the best ways you can help others is through example and life experience.

It’s like the airplane instructions, put your oxygen mask on first, then help your child or loved one. Start with yourself, then you can better serve others.

Your Phone Makes You Annoying

Stop looking at your phone. Seriously, it’s a terrible habit, especially when you’re driving.

There’s no need for you to always be available. It’s okay to ignore people; let them miss you. When you’re always on and at people’s beck and call, they actually start to take you for granted.

You’re like a battery; you have a limited supply of energy. Each time you look at your phone you deplete some of that precious energy.

Alternative: Turn off notifications, leave your phone at home or reply to messages at certain times of the day.

Try to have healthier relationships with friends and loved ones, by limiting your availability. People will survive and figure things out on their own.

While you’re on hiatus from your phone, jot down some of your secret dreams and ways you can make them happen.

One Goal, One Obsession

You’re fed up, you never stick to your goals or resolutions, which leads to you feeling bad about yourself. You’ve got no problem cheering other people on, but oftentimes you forget to root for yourself.

Stop thinking about all the things you should be doing and how you don’t have time for them all. Keep it simple by focusing on just one thing.

Alternative: Choose one goal and become obsessed with it.

Your one goal could be prioritizing yourself, but try adding one more goal if you have the bandwidth.

Having one goal means it won’t feel too time consuming and you don’t have to feel guilty about it. It also means you have a greater chance at success.

You still need a solid plan with actionable steps, but things are much more clearcut when there’s only one thing to tackle. If you can knock out one goal, who’s to say you can’t do another, and then another?

One success is all you need to start believing in yourself.

You Got This

This year, instead of setting unrealistic goals, put the focus on yourself by questioning your daily actions. More importantly, think about what you do for others versus what you do for yourself.

We all have the same 24 hours, but we all use that time so differently. Try shifting some of your thoughts and energy away from others and onto yourself.

Prioritizing yourself means thinking about your happiness and needs, not just everyone else’s. It’s a simple goal that can be accomplished over and over again to further your self-growth.

You exist for a reason; to reach your true potential. When you see yourself in this new light it will help you make better life decisions.

Your actions and choices should ultimately drive you toward a better version of yourself. Sometimes those actions help others, but that’s not the only thing that matters.

No, those days are over. You are at your best when you are fulfilling your dreams and ambitions.

The world needs more happy people. Help contribute by starting with yourself.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *