Pay Yourself First

I missed Pilates last week. All week. My office was in the process of moving locations so I was working longer hours to prepare. As if that was not chaotic enough, my entire household came down with the flu. Something had to give and this week, that something was Pilates.

Missing this week reminded me of some advice my mom gave me years ago with regard to saving money. She said, “You have to pay yourself first. Somehow if you wait until after you pay your bills, there is not enough left over to save. But if you pay yourself before you pay your bills, it always seems to work out.”

Seriously, ladies, can that statement be any more true when referring to fitting fitness into our schedules?

Fall is always insanely busy for our household. Between birthdays, holidays and activities, there never seems to be any time left over. This past fall ended up being especially crazy because we bought a house we hadn’t planned on buying, my daughter was participating in swimming and gymnastics as well as speech therapy. Because she just received ear tubes, we were also running to several follow up specialist appointments. I decided that I could fit Pilates into my schedule but rather than committing to set times each week, I would just buy classes as I went along. Each week I would sit down and decide when and what I could attend. It would work out perfectly. Or so I thought.

The first thing that ended up happening each week was me bumping Pilates off my list because I had too much going on. The only class I did manage to keep up with was Vesy and that is likely because I signed up and put it on the calendar at the beginning of the session.

I ended up losing almost an entire session of my practice because of this. My skills regressed. I started losing some of my strength and now that I am back, I have had to spend some time learning how to move properly once again.

The 55 minutes of Pilates, twice a week, that I attend is my time. I am not being pulled in 55 directions and there is nobody asking me for anything. It is my time to check in with my mind and my body and make sure everything is okay. And I need that. My husband and my child need me to have that. My co-workers need me to have that. I am a better person because I take the time to take care of myself.

Though this past week went sideways on me and I had to opt out, I am trying to keep a general rule of thumb to pay myself first. I know it is hard for us as mothers, wives and employees to do this and I know it is not possible for it to always work out but it is important. It is important because it is impossible for us to be the heroes we are to the people in our lives who rely on us if we are not operating at our best. And we cannot operate at our best if we are not taking care of ourselves.

Have a good week and don’t forget to pay yourself first!