The When/Then Conversation

posted in: Wellness 0



by Roberta Whitney Hughes, Founder of PeaceFull Living and PeaceFull Living TV

Do any of these sound familiar?

When I get a good job, then I can start saving money.

When my kids start school, then I can start working out again.

When I finish this big project, then I can finally take a break.

When I can afford better groceries, then I can start eating healthy.

At some point, we all get trapped in the crevice of the when/then conversation. We have this conversation silently with ourselves and sometimes we even have it out loud with friends and family. We get so taken over by achieving the when that we never create opportunity for the then to happen.

My When/Then conversation sounds like this:

When life isn’t so busy, then I’ll make time to rest and take care of me.

Yes, even I make an effort each and every day to create the time I need to relax, restore, and refresh my energy. Making time to care for myself has been a lifelong journey. Just like you, I find that time slips away quickly. My eyes are easily drawn to all of the things that need my attention. It is so easy for me to put them all first. When I do, I settle into this rhythm that feels more like a hamster wheel than a fulfilling life. Round and round I go… doing, doing, doing… until I am worn out and have to force myself to jump off. With many years of practice behind me now, I am able to recognize when I get stuck on the hamster wheel of life. Recognizing that I’m stuck allows me to pause, step off, and make thoughtful choices.

Instead of When/Then, Say I Will

It takes discipline for me to carve out time for myself each day. I used to plan each day based on all of the things I needed to do. If the day was busy, I would say to myself “I don’t have time to do anything for me today. I don’t have time to rest. Maybe tomorrow.” Tomorrow never came because it was just as busy, if not busier than the day before.

So, with conscious effort, I now plan each day with the intention to rest and take care of myself. Even if I can only pencil in a five minute Zen Break, I make sure I get in some time every single day to rest and restore. As I sit down to plan my day, I say silently to myself “I will create time to rest and take care of me today.” Then, I plan the time into my day. It sounds easy, but it is actually really hard for me. If I’m not intentional, taking time for myself will slide right off my radar.

Since I work from home, most days are a myriad of activity that include being a mom, being in a relationship, being productive at work, teaching, writing, marketing, forecasting, paying bills, answering emails, planning meals, eating meals, exercising… I think this list could go on for an eternity… Needless to say, each day offers its’ own set of challenges.

Here’s My Plan for today Monday, March 29, 2021

6:30 a.m. – wake up

6:45 a.m.- make sure Noah is up for school

6:50 a.m.- brush teeth, wash face, prepare netti pot

6:55 a.m.- put away dishes and tidy kitchen while netti pot water is heating

7:00 a.m.- do netti pot

7:05 a.m.- make breakfast for Noah, visit with him before he leaves for school

7:20 a.m.- clean kitchen, tidy living room, feed dogs

8:00 a.m.- morning meditation, planning, devotional

8:30 a.m.- get dressed, do hair and make-up

9:15 a.m.- set up for live class

9:30 a.m.- promote live class

10:00 a.m.- teach Pilates LIVE class on Facebook

10:45 a.m.- teach a LIVE Zen Break on Instagram

11:00 a.m.- post and share Zen Break in stories; upload Pilates video to Vimeo

11:15 a.m.- eat breakfast

11:30 a.m.- clean kitchen

11:45 a.m. – fold laundry

12:30 p.m.- write blog 

2:00 p.m.- publish blog

2:30 p.m.- get a massage

4:30 p.m.- edit blog, eat a late lunch

5:30 p.m.- write and send newsletter; order dinner

6:00 p.m.- walk Mikey the Doberman

7:00 p.m.- eat dinner

8:00 p.m.- shower

9:00 p.m.- journaling and bedtime tea

10:00 p.m.- go to sleep

What is your When/Then conversation?

Here are a few journaling prompts to help you identify your When/Then conversation.

  1. How does the When/Then conversation show up in your life? When do you notice you have this conversation with yourself? Most of us have a familiar conversation that shows up over and over again. Write yours down and get to know it.
  2. What is your then? In other words, what are you putting off, avoiding, and not making time for in your life?
  3. How can you create time for your then?
  4. What are you willing to do to pause the hamster wheel?

Take Action with an “I Will” Statement

Your “I will” statement makes it possible for you to take action. Write down your “I Will” statement.

Now, take a look at your calendar for the week. Take action by scheduling in three times where you will practice your “I Will” statement.

Here are some examples,

“I will exercise this week.” Find three days where you can schedule exercise (even 15 minutes of exercise) into your calendar.

“I will rest and take care of myself.” Find three days where you can schedule a Zen Break (just five minutes) into your calendar.

“I will eat healthy foods.” Find three days where you can plan and eat a healthy meal.

Practice Does Not Make Perfect

Give yourself grace as you begin to practice taking action. Remember, this has been a lifelong journey for me and I’m still not perfect at it. Instead of aiming for perfection, I aim for grace and beginning again when I get stuck on the hamster wheel.

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