It’s easy to get so wrapped up in your work, your goals and your obligations to other people that you neglect your own well-being. It can feel selfish or even self-indulgent to make time for yourself. You’re focused on achieving great things, so why waste time with yourself?
However, this is the wrong attitude to have. To achieve external success, you have to start within and learn how to focus on yourself. This means putting self-improvement and self-care at the center of everything you undertake. Only with that as a foundation can you move outward to create a greater impact.
How to Focus on Yourself in 6 Ways
Here are six strategies we’ve found to help you focus on yourself (in an unselfish way).
1. Practice Self-Love
“Self-love” may sound like a sentimental concept that only long-haired hippies in tie-dyed shirts practice, but it’s actually something that can benefit everyone. Self-love means being kind to yourself, minimizing negative self-talk and making more room for positive self-evaluation.
As an entrepreneur, your ability to identify areas that need improvement is one of your most valuable skills. But while this can work well for business, the same attitude can be disastrous for your emotional well-being if you apply it too personally. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to become a better person, but you have to approach it from a place of growth and positivity, not self-loathing and dissatisfaction.
2. Try New Things
If you’re only working on your job, you risk getting stuck in a rut. Your job becomes your only identity, with nothing else existing outside of work. While we’re all for commitment to your job (especially if the work is meaningful and in line with your values), it’s important to continue to try new things beyond it. Doing so keeps you creative and energized, which not only helps you do good work in your job, but also live a richer life overall.
One of the best ways to try new things is to take up a new hobby. This could be something related to your job, but we encourage you to think beyond that. Maybe you want to learn a new language, try a new sport or build things with your hands. Go with whatever hobby you want — just be sure to focus on the learning and self-improvement that will come with it, not worrying about whether it will make money.
3. Make Time for Loved Ones
The people in our lives have a massive effect on the quality of our lives. Yet, we often forget this when we set goals, focusing only on making more money or gaining recognition. In the process, we neglect the people closest to us. What’s worse, it’s easy to rationalize this single-minded focus as an act of love towards our family members. For we think that if we can just achieve a certain level of success, we’ll be able to provide for them and ensure their security.
In reality, however, this isn’t a tradeoff worth making. You have to make time for the ones you love now, no matter where you are in your career or business. Life is passing by either way — better to spend it with the most important people in your life while you can. The dying don’t wish they’d spent more time working (quite the opposite).
4. Cultivate a Healthy Lifestyle
Good health is at the root of all other successful endeavors. You can push your body hard in the short term, going without adequate rest or good nutrition. But this isn’t sustainable behavior over the long term. Eventually, your body will get sick and fatigued, taking you out of work until you recover. It’s better to operate at a healthy, sustainable pace than to burn out in pursuit of fleeting gains.
The first big thing you can do to improve your health is to get enough sleep. Sleep may seem like a waste of time, but it’s quite the opposite. It’s what you need to keep your body strong and your brain energized. Aim for seven to eight hours per night (longer if you have a demanding workout program).
Speaking of working out, every healthy lifestyle includes some sort of physical practice. We prefer this term to “exercise” because most of us tend to associate exercise with running or lifting weights. While these are both fine forms of exercise, they represent just a small sample of the physical activities available. Pick one that you really like, and do it every day (just don’t overdo it, as injuring yourself is counterproductive).
Finally, a healthy lifestyle requires healthy food. The specifics of what you eat will depend on your dietary preferences and level of physical activity. But everyone can benefit from eating more whole foods and less processed, packaged food. Oh, and you should probably drink more water than you currently do (keep a glass or bottle by you while you work to make this easy).
5. Nurture Your Self-Esteem
We already mentioned the importance of self-love in learning how to focus on yourself, but we can’t forget another essential self-quality: self-esteem. Feeling good about who you are and where you’re going are crucial for success in other areas of life, as well as your general happiness. And it goes beyond you: The positive energy that comes from high self-esteem is contagious, powering up the people you come into contact with.
To boost your self-esteem, you need to focus on the positive. Think of the good things you’ve accomplished, whether at work, in your family, through a hobby or in your community. This will help remind you that, no matter what you’re struggling with, you can achieve the things you set out to accomplish.
Additionally, remember that you are more than your accomplishments. You have intrinsic value as a person that goes beyond money or utility to society. You must recognize this in order to truly have high self-esteem.
6. Keep a Journal
Self-reflection is a key part of focusing on yourself. And there’s no better way we’ve found to self-reflect than keeping a journal. The right journal will help you organize your thoughts, notice patterns in your emotions, and feel more in control of your life’s direction.
Not sure what to write about? Pick a journal that has prompts. Or just write about how you don’t know what to write about. Journaling isn’t about producing masterful prose that other people will read. The value comes from the process and the self-reflection that journaling enables.
Don’t Neglect Yourself
We hope you now see how important it is to focus on yourself. Far from being selfish, this activity will help increase your effectiveness in all areas of your life, as well as boosting your happiness and well-being. Try just one of the above ideas today and see what impact it has on your life.