If you want to achieve lifetime success, you must begin by putting yourself first. Only you can create the life you desire, and it's surprisingly not as difficult as it seems.
But how do you put yourself first? You may be thinking, "what about my husband/wife or children?" If you have people dependent on you, how do you put yourself first without becoming selfish?
Yet, putting yourself first isn't selfish at all.
In fact, it's the complete opposite. Because when you take care of your own needs before anyone else's, whether that be getting 8 hours of sleep, taking a half hour of the day to read, making time to work out or anything else, you will be a better you.
This enhanced version of you is a better worker, a faster creative thinker, and an effective problem solver. You can tackle problems head on without feeling overly stressed and productively and positively interact with the people around you, from loved ones to coworkers and bosses.
You see, when you take the time necessary to take care of yourself before everyone else, you're able to be more present with the people in your life. Finally, you can focus on the conversation at hand and provide your undivided attention because your mind isn't working in the background.
No more checking your phone while your friend talks, reading an email during dinner with your family, or steering the conversation back to your own problems. Because when your needs are met, you're able to better meet the needs of your loved ones.
Better yet, your friends and family will notice the happy, more clear-headed you and appreciate that you are more authentically present while spending time together.
They'll even respect you more for respecting yourself enough to take the time to work on becoming a better you.
According to Ethel S. Person, M.D., author if Feeling Strong: The Achievement of Authentic Power, "If you always put someone else first, there's a tendency for others to depreciate you, to lose respect, because respect comes from an understanding that [you have your] own wishes, dreams, and desires."
So don't be afraid to set your priorities. Actually, do it now. Make a list.
Who are the people most important to you in life? Is it your husband/wife, best friend(s), sibling(s), parent(s), or someone else? Who are the people that make you feel special, the people that care about your best interests and positively improve your life?
Add the hobbies that make you happy to your list and think about why they affect your life the way they do. Perhaps you love to run or practice yoga, play video games, or have a variety of hobbies. List out what you like to do, for you.
And don't just write 'I like shopping at Half Price Books because I like books'.
Think deeper. Consider this: if you were always unhappy and negative, would people want to spend time with you or even keep you in their lives? So what makes you happy?
For example, I enjoy yoga because my happiness and health are important, not only for me but for my loved ones as well. A happier and healthier me means I will be better company for those that I love and want to have a positive influence on.
Now, when is the last time you did any of the things on your list? Don't feel guilty, we all set our own desires on the back burner from time to time. Instead of beating yourself up for dismissing your love of painting for the past.... oh my gee, five years... set your priorities.
Create some goals, set aside at least $20/week to invest on your hobbies, explore life, work toward your goals, focus on your accomplishments, and remember to reward yourself!
Don't spend an endless amount of time treating yo self, but ensure you set aside time each day or a portion of your budget (or both, most likely) for yourself. Make it your first priority of the day, every day.
Only you are responsible for you. You have to make the change. You have to do. Love yourself.