Today we are talking about the idea of managing our obligations. This is a tough one for us as women, as mothers, as sisters and as friends. We have this desire as women to help others, to do things for others. Not only help them, but doing it for them. It’s very natural for us to be this way. I know myself, I love helping people, and I do things too often without thinking things over first.
So, the truth is, way too many of us feel guilty.
The stats are out.
Mom’s feel guilty.
We feel guilty because there is no way we can to it all, but there is no way we can. We want to help that person, do this thing and support that all at the same time. We want that! It’s totally normal, but the fact is that it is not realistic and it’s not going to help you flourish as a Fitmama. It’s just not. Saying yes to everyone and doing everything for everyone else is not going to get you to where you want to be.
It’s true. I don’t even have to know you or what you want to be able to say that. It’s the truth. You cannot have too many obligations going out. We must must must manage these obligations. So, I always say to Fitmamas “You know you can say no right?”. I know, it’s a tough one. It takes practice.
The comment that I hear most is that you are overwhelmed, so busy, have too much to do. That’s what this is about. It’s about managing all these things that we think we have to do.
Obligations are made up of three things; your needs, your wants and your responsibilities. We have all of them. We have our own needs and wants and our responsibilities to those around us. For us to start managing these things we need to start thinking about what our wants really are, and what our responsibilities really. And that takes really looking inside. I believe that writing really helps us get stuff out of our head. All the time we think “I know what I need to do, I know what I’m thinking and I know what I really want.”
Not until we write things down do we get a really good sense of it. This doesn’t really require us to have any good writing skills or to be great at poetry or anything. The key thing is just getting it out, and to start having the conversation with yourself about what you really want. When it comes to managing our obligations, we have so many things going on that we need to really take an inventory of what’s really going on and to see what’s really going on that we don’t want to be doing so we can get in alignment with what we really want. Until we write those down we often don’t know what they are, we can’t articulate them to ourselves or to anyone else.
When it comes to the needs, wants and responsibilities, when we start to look deeply at them, what comes clear is this idea of assigning someone else to help you out. This is a BIG ONE. We are always going to be talking about enlisting others into our lives. When we are stressed or overwhelmed it’s often because we have too much going on, and so we need to start assigning things to others.
Let’s assign small tasks to other people, like the lunches you have to make for your kids, like the cupcakes that you have to make for that party you are going to. When you get to responsibilities and your wants, these things you start to have to ask for help to be able to maintain these things. When you have responsibilities that you know need to be done and you have wants that you know you want to get done, it’s about asking for help. Let’s get someone in here to help me to make sure that all of this goes down. The word that I want you to think of is assess. When it comes to responsibilities we are asking for help and we are assessing. This goes back to the innerness piece. Why? Why is it that we want to do the things we want to do? What is that about? This is where we start to assess and from there we get in to that beautiful place where we are able to flourish. We assign other people tasks because we realize we don’t need to do everything ourselves. At this point we are really consistently asking “is this what I want?” If it’s not we can reassess, go back to the drawing board. This is not some static thing to get to and then you’re there. It’s an evolution. It’s a way of life. Something that works today, may not work another day, and so everyday needs to be a new day. It’s about the intentions in behind it.
You know that you can say no, right?
We have to start exercising that.
You are the leader of your family, perhaps in business or in your community as well. It’s important that you come to the place where you know being busy is good, but it’s YOU that has to say no to that additional thing, going to that birthday party that you are being asked to commit to. Taking that step back, realizing that you are the leader in the family and you can make those decisions to set those boundaries. You can choose to make decisions that more reflect what you really want.
So, the three things I am going to leave you with to help you manage those obligations, those things that you are obligated towards (or are you?)
1.) Practice saying no – It’s such a big thing. The next time that someone asks you for something, pause, really assess the situation and ask yourself “am I going to say yes? Am I going to assign it to someone else? Or am I going to say no?” Even for the big things, I am always practising this, pausing and assessing whether or not it’s going to work. I used to work the other way, saying yes to everything and then not really being able to live the way I truly wanted to live. Other people will take you away if you don’t own your own time and manage your obligations.
2.) Clarify your boundaries – This is another writing assignment. Take out your journal and ask yourself “What ARE my boundaries?” Maybe this means not going out with the girls on a school night when you need to get up with your kids in the morning. Maybe this means only doing one sport for your kids on the weekend. Managing obligations allows you to be open to what your boundaries are and the ability to say no. It takes some practice.
3.) Let go of using the word guilt – this is important, to let go of the idea of using the word and feeling the feeling for not doing something that you feel you ought to have done. There are very real risks to taking on too much. Illness, pain, cancer and other problems that people can’t cope with on their own, they need to seek professional help.
When we say that we will do stuff for ourself later, it overrides our natural needs and send us into this place where we are only helping others and not fuelling our own tank. This leaves you very susceptible to go down the path of illness, and not taking care of yourself. Let’s nip that in the bud by really being proactive and managing our obligations.
You can say no, you know?
YOU CAN SAY NO.
Go out there and practice it.