Here’s how to get started:
Think “Family NOW, work LATER.” Most entrepreneurial or career-driven types believe that they need to work really hard during their “prime earning years” so they can relax and enjoy The Good Life later. Cook says that’s exactly backwards. When our kids are young we should live now and work later. No amount of rationalizing that you’re “doing it for the family” can make up for missing those precious formative years.
“Make this your mantra and it will help you immediately put things into perspective,” says Cook. “Yes, you must work some, but if you don’t have a big mortgage and two car payments you will be able to put in a lot fewer hours and spend a lot more time with your children now, while they need you. Your business can grow slowly and organically over time.”
Start spending fewer hours at work. Try to cut your work hours by 10 percent, advises Cook. Years of conditioning have us believing hard work means working a lot. Yet Cook says the most successful people work less, often make more, and love their life. The truth is, short periods of efficient hard work are much more productive than “overdrive 60-hour work weeks.”
“If you have worked hard all day, you will likely be less productive in the final hour or two that you would normally work anyway,” says Cook. “Instead, go home and spend quality time with your loved ones. This is deeply rewarding for them as well as for you. And having enough time off to recharge means you will be ready to give 100 percent the next time you’re at work.”
Go on an information-and-media diet. Most of us spend too much time surfing the Internet, watching upsetting news stories, and scrolling through social media. This is a bad habit that creeps up on us slowly and insidiously and makes us anxious and unhappy. Before we know it we are addicted and we let “screen time” steal our precious moments with our spouses and kids.
“When you’re at home, close down your laptop and put away the remote control,” says Cook. “Make a no cell phones rule at dinner. There’s a lot more time for movie night, charades, puzzles, and family projects like growing a garden or training for a marathon together.”
Get intentional about restoring your damaged marriage. Too many couples work hard at their job, come home exhausted, and go sit in front of two separate TVs. They may pursue separate hobbies and interests. Over time, they drift apart and lose their passion for each other. But when a couple sits down together and creates a vision to work toward—one that includes making their marriage a priority—their relationship shifts almost overnight.
“There’s no better time to truly celebrate a love-centric holiday than committing to your partner in love and life,” says Cook. “Make Valentine’s Day your starting point to a better relationship and work at it until it becomes stronger than ever.”
Change how you celebrate. The way you celebrate Valentine’s Day (any holiday or special occasion, really) should reflect your newfound priorities. Make it about togetherness and creativity, not buying stuff. For example, instead of ordering from your favorite pricey restaurant, prepare a family meal together. Mom or Dad can make the entrée while younger kids set the table. Older children can each be in charge of preparing a side item. For dessert, you can purchase several different chocolate bars and host a “chocolate tasting” and rate your favorites.
You might also put the focus back on love by giving to others. As a family, you could make homemade cards to give to elderly neighbors, or deliver clothing the kids have outgrown to a homeless shelter. (With a simpler life you’ll have a lot more time for such things.)
“Simplifying your life is an act of love for the people that mean the most to you,” says Cook. “What we do, every day, speaks so much louder than what we say.”
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About the Book:
Lifeonaire; An Uncommon Approach to Wealth, Success, and Prosperity (Lifeonaire Promotions, LLC, 2018, ISBN: 978-0-9863228-7-7, $14.99) is available from major online booksellers.
To learn more, please visit https://lifeonaire.com.
Photos by: Djim Loic, Adeolu Eletu, and Justin Folis