09/09/2013 05:14 pm ET Updated Nov 09, 2013

How to Have More Time and Energy For Relationships

I totally understand that after a long day at workyour neck and back can feel tense, your brain feels like mush and the last thing you want to do is force yourself to go out.

When you have this feeling day after day or week after week, it's easy to criticize yourself for not doing more to invest in relationships. "What's my problem?" you think. "Why don't I have the time and energy to spend more time with people?"

But fortunately, there's a better way...

As the research in the New York Times article "Go Easy on Yourself, a New Wave of Research Urges," explains self-compassion actually leads to better habit change than self-criticism. That's why you can increase your capacity for relationships by doing more of what you feel like doing versus what you think you "should" do.

Here are some practical action steps to make this happen:

  • Think about what you find energizing such as reading at a beautiful library, running along the lake, or attending a concert.
  • Brainstorm how you could include these activities in your time that you spend cultivating current relationships or investing in new ones.
  • Decide on a time each week where you will contact people who might enjoy participating in these activities with you.
  • Give yourself permission to do some of these activities on your own if no one can join you, but you would feel really energized by completing them.

By taking this more compassionate approach toward yourself, you'll have the opportunity to do more of what you enjoy and attract the kind of people who love participating in these activities with you. Also, making time for people an intentional part of your weekly planning decreases the chance that you won't go out because you're too tired to make a decision at the end of the day.

You can increase your social life by doing a little more to love yourself this fall.

Elizabeth Grace Saunders is the founder and CEO of Real Life E a time coaching and training company that empowers individuals who feel guilty, overwhelmed and frustrated to feel peaceful, confident and accomplished through an exclusive Schedule Makeover™ process. She is an expert on achieving more success with less stress. Real Life E also increases employee productivity, satisfaction and work/life balance through custom training programs.

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