Note: This is a guest post by the lovely Kaylee Rupp of ZenCaffeine.com! Read, enjoy and show her some love in the comments. She has such a loving approach to life.
It’s a New Year, and with it come the inevitable weight loss goals.
Only this time it’ll be different – you’ll eat five servings of veggies a day, workout six days a week and not one sweet will pass your lips. You’ve even set up a reward system – if you can do this, without fail, at the end of the week, you get a hot, luxurious bath. Or an afternoon alone at your favorite bookstore. Or [insert your favorite activity here].
Fast forward one week and your willpower has run out (we only have so much of it, y’know). Not only has one sweet passed your lips, but also a #6 combo from your favorite fast food place. You feel ashamed, defeated, and you definitely aren’t giving yourself that bath. You didn’t earn it.
Now you feel unworthy. You’ve blown it. You might as well have that milkshake, too, since you’re not getting your comfy bath anyway.
Sound familiar? I think we’ve all been in this harsh cycle at some point. Today, I’m urging you to break out of it.
Reward systems can be super helpful. They can give you something to work towards, keep your eye on the prize, and feel a sense of accomplishment…Or they can be used as a tool to beat yourself up, a means of deprivation when you’re not totally “good” when it comes to your diet or workout routine.
That’s what I’m asking you to stop, lovely. You deserve sooo much more than that! We all deserve love, kindness, and wonderful self-care…No matter how many pieces of cake we eat, or workouts we miss.
But how do we break this cycle of food-crime and punishment?
We reverse the order.
What if, before you did anything “good,” you indulged in the hot bath, the long walk on your favorite trail, that beautiful purple nail polish?
It might go a little something like this:
“I’m taking such uber good care of myself! That bath was heavenly, and this nail polish is so fun. I think I’ll treat myself to a nice, long walk in my favorite woodsy area – connect with nature, breathe. And when I get home, I’m gonna make a veggie stir fry and enjoy the heck out of it! Because I love myself sooo very much and deserve only the best! And I know fries and a shake aren’t it.”
Sounds lovely, right?
Of course, that’s not always real life. Sometimes I take the bath, do my nails, take a walk and still want junk food. Sometimes I even eat it. But here’s the difference: I’m not punishing myself! I’m being patient, loving and kind with myself, understanding that sometimes I eat crap, but that doesn’t make me less worthy.
And chances are, for the most part, once you start this new cycle of love, those binges will be less and less frequent, because you’ll WANT to care for yourself in every way – including eating nourishing food and moving your body.
Seriously, let me stress that it’s not this easy. You’re not going to sleep in silk pajamas and wake up longing for a fresh green smoothie, veggies for lunch and not a speck of sugar. But it’s far more likely that you’ll make healthier choices out of love for yourself, instead of hatred for your thighs.
To sum it all up, here’s a quick guide to getting healthy via self-care:
1. Do not punish yourself.
Milkshakes happen. You’re not always going to eat perfectly, or get ripped after 3 workouts. Beating yourself up about the slip-ups is so not going to help! That’s only a tool to keep you down, just like the whole “I’ve blown it” mentality. If you think you blew it, you’ll just keep going with the poor eating and lack of exercise.
There’s nothing to blow. Just be patient with yourself, brush it off, and make a better choice as soon as you can. This can be your next meal, or even just taking 5 minutes for a walk.
2. Make self-care the goal.
Make fabulous self-care your goal. Do those things you love just because you deserve them always, not because you earned it with a workout.
When you begin to treat yourself like a prize with regular self-care, you’ll start to win in the health arena too. Ask yourself: What do I need right now? Time alone? An afternoon with a friend? A haircut? Give yourself what you need, and you’ll be less inclined to feel the void with unhealthy habits.
3. Do recognize that you need to make changes.
Making the goal self-care doesn’t release you from responsibility. If you want to have a healthier, lighter, more energetic body, you’ll probably have to make some changes.
Sometimes, it’s tempting when you focus on self-care to do this: “This Friday I’ll indulge myself in a hot bath…and my favorite Thai dish and some ice cream too. Because I’m taking good care of myself and I *deserve* it.” (I might’ve said this one a few times…)
But truly, dearest, nobody *deserves* ice cream and unhealthy food. Yes, I believe it’s okay to indulge, but don’t fool yourself with that word, deserve. That only gives you permission to eat what you want under the guise of self-care.
Instead, recognize that you need to make changes. Know that to lose weight or feel better, exercise and healthy eating are the ticket. Then…
4. Make small changes.
I’m sure you’ve heard this one before: start small!
When we take on health full-force, making exhuberant promises to ourselves (like the ones that start this post), we’re setting ourselves up for failure. I’ve done it SO many times. Can you relate?
The change that lasts usually starts with baby steps. Lasting health starts with walking 10 minutes a day, not setting out to hike 20 miles a week.
Choose some actionable goals that you can begin today. Start walking 5 minutes every morning, or eat a salad with dinner 3 days a week. Once you get used to those, add on. That way it’s not overwhelming, and you can feel so accomplished knowing that you absolutely CAN do this!
And most importantly, kindred spirits…
5. Change from a place of love, not loathing.
When you change from a place of loathing, you’re working out and eating well because you hate something. Maybe it’s your weight, or just your stubborn belly fat. When you try to change from this place, your life looks like the first few paragraphs. When you read those lines, you can feel the shame, the hurt and the harshness. We don’t deserve that, ever.
That’s why we must change from a place of love. Eat healthy and move your body because you love yourself and you deserve health and vibrancy! The weight and belly fat will follow – or maybe it won’t! But you’ll still have better health and maybe more importantly, a loving commitment to be kind and take care of yourself.
Love makes these changes possible by lifting you up. So lift yourself up today. Love yourself. Buy that new shirt now, not after you lose weight. Take that hot bath, pamper your body that serves you so well just as it is.
Remember, precious souls, change from love.
About the Author
Kaylee Rupp writes at ZenCaffeine.com, where you can find a unique blend of Ohm and OhMy! She believes that you don’t have to sit with your eyes closed to find peace. Learn strategies to live your life with eyes wide open and enjoy her playful approach to Zen, as she writes to help others create more purposeful, authentic, joyful lives.
Thank you Kaylee for this amazing article on how we are all so precious, no matter what our shape or size. We are beautiful.
What are YOUR thoughts on this topic? Have you been talking yourself down after a broken resolution? How many of your New year resolutions are still in tact? Share your thoughts in the comments below. Kaylee and I would love to hear from you.
p.s. A very special Valentine’s Day article is being written, to add a very special twist to your valentines day. Stay tuned darlings!
With Immense Love & Gratitude,
Counseling Psychologist/ Spiritual Counselor
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10 thoughts on “Are You Sacrificing Self Care for Your New Year’s Resolution?”
hi Kaylee – thanks for the reminder to take it easy on ourselves. always starting from a place of love, instead of loathing, is probably the most effective way for long term change. One of my resolutions is to blog weekly. I’ve still managed to keep it up but I’m taking it easy on myself and include guest posts by others which I feature on the blog (and include as my weekly contribution towards my resolution). SOme may say that’s cheating but I’m enjoying featuring other writers on my blog, sharing their wisdom and keeping on track with my resolution all at the same time:)
Hi Vishnu, thanks for commenting! Congrats on keeping up with your resolution! It sounds like you’ve found a great balance of staying on track but still being gentle with yourself. Nothin’ wrong with a little help via the guest posts! It totally still counts. 🙂
It’s so nice to see you at Zeenat’s blog!
Zeenat, I was thrilled to see Kaylee’s guest post at your blog and thank you for having her over.
Kayee, I loved the messages in your post and I could really appreciate what you wrote about the dangers of using ‘rewards’ inappropriately. In some cases they can do more harm than good. I enjoyed reading your points on self-care. For me number 1 is the most important. I’m still working on it. However, in recent years I’ve had a lot of progress in this area and by not being hard on myself, other things fall into place.
Hello, my friend! I feel like I see you everywhere! I like it. 🙂
I’m so glad you enjoyed my message, Hiten. Sounds like you can definitely relate… It’s hard to strike that balance between being disciplined and being harsh, isn’t it?
It’s amazing how something that can be such a horrible chore can get turned around into something you want to do. I usually feel so much better after I have done just a few mat exercises. Because of limitations I have, this is all I’m able to muster up, but they really do help. Whenever I feel down, I end up doing these exercises just to get my mood in a better place. It has yet to fail me.
Hey Glynis. 🙂 I’m glad you’ve found exercises that work for you. You’re so right, sometimes just getting up and moving can really elevate your mood. I sit all day at work, but the days I make myself get up and stretch are when I have the most positive energy.
I accidentally stumbled upon to this guest post by clicking the link shared by Hiten Vyas.
Thank you Hiten for sharing it on FB.
Kaylee, I thoroughly enjoyed your post and I also feel that at times it is important to take care of ourselves and do what we love. This is because if only we take care of ourselves we can take care of others we love!.
I feel the concept self-care can also be attributed to any aspects of our life; be it to lead a healthy life or a happy life.
I can also well connect to the third point you mentioned; start with baby steps. It is better to start with some small doable goals every time. I experimented it when I started writing for our blog inspiringcitizen.com.
Thank you Kaylee for the wonderful post and thank you Zeenat for having her over here.
Hey Sareena! I’m so glad you enjoyed my guest post here. 🙂 You made a very important point – when we take good care of ourselves and are full of love, that love overflows and affects how we treat others!
Baby steps are the best. It seems to be working for you and your blog!
Thanks for commenting, and thank you Zeenat for having me! 🙂
u summed up how i feel when i dont live upto my goals….punishing myself mercilessly..thank u for this wonderful article…
You’re welcome. I hope it helped you realize you can be a little easier on yourself… Whether we accomplish our goals or not, we are ALWAYS worthy of love!!
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