It's happened to all of us. You've reached your wit's end. You're sick and tired of being sick and tired... and stressed and broke... and whatever else may be plaguing you. So what do you do? You make the resolution to change your life. You commit to start taking better care of yourself. You commit to self care. You commit to self improvement.
Could be that you wanted to increase your health so you chose to exercise more or eat better. You may have wanted to lower your stress levels so you committed to start meditating, doing yoga or getting a regular massage or spa treatment. You may have wanted to achieve more in your life so you chose to start the process of regular study, journaling or going through a coaching program.
Whatever you've chosen, you're absolutely ready to get better results in your life and get away from the stress so you make your best commitment to take better care of yourself and all is well for the first week or maybe even the first few weeks and then... what happens??? You start to slip. You miss one time or session. Maybe you pull yourself back on track and then before you know it you miss two more times and all of the sudden, like magic, you quit your self care entirely and you're back to square one.
This resonates with all of us because it's frustrating as hell. The only option you have when you slip back is to your previous life where things are a lot harder than you'd like them to be or maybe you're just barely making it or struggling to getting by. One thing is for sure... every time we slip back, it's never to a place we want to be.
WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN??
You really meant it when you wanted to change your life and you didn't want to live a life that felt like it was beating you down all the time. You meant it when you said you wanted a healthier body. You meant it when you said you wanted to start taking good care of yourself. You meant it when you said you wanted to improve your life. So... Why did you quit taking care of yourself?
First off, it's not your fault. I don't mean that in a cheesy or "Let's hold hands and hug and everything is going to be alright" kinda way. What I mean is, you would never do this to yourself if you understood you better so let's let go of the guilt and shame and stop beating ourselves up so we can take a good, deep dive into the real reasons why we quit. It's only when we let shameful feelings go that we choose to take a look at what's holding us back and it's only by becoming aware of what's holding us back that we can begin the process of overcoming it. Getting rid of what's holding us back will automatically open the door to creating a self care process that sticks, serves us and will begin to get the results WE not only want and deserve but, those around us deserve.
The answers to why we quit taking care of ourselves might just surprise you and I know that the simple solutions for overcoming this starting and quitting cycle of our self care will surprise you.
Reason #1. RESULTS DRIVEN MOTIVATION....
What??? Aren't we choosing to take better care of ourselves purely for the results we want to receive? In short, the answer is yes but if the only reason we will continue to take care of ourselves is because we get the results we want quickly, we can find our motivation waning as we wait for the results we want to show up. This can really mess things up as we start our process of self care. More often than not, we will not receive good results immediately. Unknowingly, with results driven motivation, by giving our results the power of determining whether we will continue the process, we give them the power over whether we succeed or not.
In order to overcome this we must first understand that results will come but will come from the habit we create of taking care of ourselves more than they come from any one or few sessions of self care. We must change our thinking from immediate self care results to creating the habit of self care. We must think of the person we want to become and the regular actions they take.
It may be that after starting to exercise more, instead of feeling an immediate energy boost from your exercise sessions you are feeling more fatigue, especially later in your day. Or maybe your massage sessions are leaving you foggy minded and unproductive or your yoga or meditations aren't helping you to focus but rather are leaving you more anxious and stressed out.
Whatever the case, results driven motivation, without knowing, goes something like this: If I get the results I want from this new self care behavior quickly, I will continue. If not, I will stop.
How to overcome this is really quite simple. Exchange your results driven motivation to a habit driven motivation by defining the person you want to be and asking yourself what regular things (habits) does this person do and then focus on creating these habits in your life. Let the results go, knowing that in time, they will take care of themselves once the habit is established. Instead, focus on congratulating yourself for taking your new, self care action, creating your new habit and being the person you want to be.
Changing your life is never a true decision unless you're choosing to do it no matter what. Give yourself an allotted time like three to six months of consistent self care and then re-evaluate whether things have gotten better for you. You may find that your life has changed dramatically and now you've created a habit that is serving you and will continue to serve you. If you do not find this and you've given it an honest and consistent effort, then you've found a legitimate reason to choose something else because you've given the proper time to this new self care that let's you truly see if it's producing the effects you wanted. Either way, you've won. You've continued with your self care and got the results you wanted or you've found something that doesn't work for you and you don't ever need to try again.
Reason #2 Negative self talk
Negative self talk is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to self care. The tip of the iceberg is "I'm not good at this" or "I've never been good at this" or "I can't do this". The iceberg below the water is "I don't believe I can do this", or, "this isn't possible for me".
This is a simple shift for correction and you do it by replacing any negative self-talk statements with new, positive self-talk questions. Questions like: Why is this good, and why am I doing good? How am I looking forward to things getting better as I continue my self care process?
It might seem overly simple but our conscious mind can only focus on one thing at a time and when you're looking for the reasons why something is failing (including yourself) then that is all you are looking for and sooner or later you will find those reasons. When you choose to consciously focus on what is good and why you are doing good, you will find those reasons also and they will motivate you to continue with your self care.
Negative self talk is a habit so be aware of it and switch it as often as necessary until you replace it with a positive self talk habit that better serves you and allows you to continue taking your new action. Before long you will no longer have to ask yourself why things are good. You will automatically generate the answers and this is when you know you have changed the habit of seeking the negative for being a positive person.
Reason #3 Competition/comparing ourselves to others.
Looking at where you are when just beginning a new behavior and comparing yourself to someone who has been doing what you want to do for a long time can be daunting and devastating. Thoughts like "I'll never be that good" and "I could never do that" spring up quite easily and can leave us feeling like our cause is a lost one.
This is easier than ever these days with social media being the polish everyone needs to make their lives look better than yours. The only solution here is to ditch it completely. Stop comparing yourself to others and start loving yourself for who you truly are. You are an infinite spirit inhabiting a body and in all of time there has never been one like you and there never will be, so stop focusing on what's missing and start focusing on the one and only, amazing YOU.
Ditch Competition and replace it with Creation. Stop caring so much about what others are doing and start caring about and being proud of you.
Once you step into the Creation mode you will find that it is infinite. You step into the creative space by asking yourself the question: How can I be better than I was? You will find then that the only competition you face in the creative space is with yourself and you have opened a path for continual improvement and it is infinite because you can always get better. When you truly commit to stop comparing yourself to others and focus solely on self care you will have discovered one of the best ways to overcome quitting self care. When you commit to doing this you will look up in 3-6 months and be blown away at the progress you've made. By the way, those around you will be blown away too.
Reason #4 Thinking that taking care of you is not important enough or selfish
Let's do away with this one once and for all. We've been taught that it's better to give than to receive and that is a foolish notion. Giving is no better than receiving. In fact they are one in the same. You cannot have a "give" without a "receive".
Let's change this false notion for a fact. You cannot give what you do not have and if you're only operating at 50% of your capability then you can only give on the same level which is way below what you are capable of giving. You cannot help others if you first do not help and take care of yourself so it is not a selfish thing to take care of you. In fact, it's one of the most selfless things you can do because when you raise your health, your energy, your money, your relationship and your free time you are always in a better place to help others, especially those whom you love the most.
Choosing to stop self care in order to make more time for others is the worst thing and actually one of the most selfish things you can do as you are diminishing your ability to operate at your highest possible level and thus, serve others at the highest level.
Bottom line, the reasons we quit our self care is not because of the things in this world (although we'd like to believe that) but rather because of a lack of understanding of who we are and how we operate in this world. It is belief.
Either you believe this is possible for you and it is a good thing or you don't and you have to get real with yourself about this because it's this belief that you hold that is going to play out for you in your own path of self care. No positive belief in your self care and you will quit with little or no success. Believe in yourself and the self care path you have chosen and you will succeed every time. You are the only one responsible for creating this belief. You either accept an outside idea or create the idea yourself. No one can do this for you.
Take the time to commit to yourself a practice of self care that will serve you and then let go of the results and instead commit to creating the habit of the practice you've committed to. Reassess your progress after a designated period of time (3-6 months is usually a good period of time) and then you will have your answer as to how your chosen course has really benefited you and you will have formed a habit.
Commit to letting go of comparing yourself to others and instead commit to self improvement.
Change negative thinking of why I can't do this or why this isn't going to work for me to why is this good and why am I doing good?
And last but not least, give yourself permission to take care of yourself because that is the best and only way you will truly be able to serve those around you.
If you've wanted to change your life and even committed to changing your life but never followed through and created the life you really want I invite you to begin your journey by learning how to set a goal that cannot fail. Yes you heard me right. You can learn how to set a goal that cannot fail and you can learn to do it in my simple course The M3 Dream right here.
Cheers, and here's to you taking the best care of yourself and living your best life, not only for you but for those you love.
Your friend and partner in self care,