If I think about the times when I have wanted to make a change in my life – when I have come to a point where I know in my heart – this can be different than it is, I can be better; I start by thinking that I have to do it ALL AT ONCE. I kick off my new bettering project with tremendous oomph and a few days later I am less-oomphy and then I am half-assing it and then I am rationalizing why it is okay to half-ass it and then…. well, nothing is really different or better.
This pattern is why years of new year’s resolutions left me with nothing more than a really good January. Every year I had the same 6 resolutions – eat better, get more sleep, get home from work earlier, have more patience, be more present, work out. Sound familiar?? They are everyone’s same freaking resolutions. And, I would get to the end of January and find myself on a weds night at 8pm, having just walked through the door sitting down to a nice big glass of delicious wine and hunk of expensive cheese aka “dinner” (there goes get home early and eat better) I would tell myself that I deserved that wine and that cheese (hello my little rationalizing friend) all this, despite the fact that it was going to interrupt my sleep (resolution #2!); and make me super cranky & irritable the next day – there goes patience and presence! I learned that by trying to do it all at once – trying to get from where I was to where I wanted to be without actually doing the work daily work meant that the change I was looking for wasn’t ever really going to happen for me. I needed to have more compassion for myself and try another way.
One of the things I have learned during My Year of Whittling journey is that my success rate for enabling change and making something feel, look or be better improves when I do it slowly, mindfully, methodically and most importantly when I practice something daily. This is not my opinion of why change happens, this is something that I learned by living it. And, there is a crap-ton of brain research to back this up – it’s all about building new neuronal pathways, I read about it here and it changed my perspective of how to manifest change in myself. I am not a neuroscientist, what a glorious understatement, but I have learned that that my brain is plastic, and that I can mold it, that I can build new neuronal pathways and that by focusing on small daily practices, I can bring about huge positive change in any self-bettering project I want to take on.
In December a great group of people joined me in a closed FaceBook group for a 30-day challenge to savor the best moment of each day – this daily practice helped us to keep the craziness of the holiday season to a dull roar. Then, in January more people joined and together we did 30 days of Gratitude. Everyone in these groups have shared publicly or privately with me that during these challenges they feel a shift – by practicing everyday they are more able to deal with this mighty and every present thing called life; that by savoring the best moment or mindfully being grateful they are less likely to take things for granted, and it is easier for them to access joy and ease in their lives. This makes them feel happier, more fulfilled.
In February we have begun a 28-day challenge of conscious self-care. We are taking the proclamation we shout at the mirror on Monday morning – “I have GOT to take better care of myself.” and we are breaking it down together. We are going practice conscious self-care daily until it becomes a habit or for the neuroscience fans in the group – until we build a new neuronal pathway.
I have started a list of things you can do to practice conscious self-care, ways you can be Self-FULL. Please borrow from this list, please join the challenge and add to this list.
Here are the first 11 of an incomplete list of ways to practice conscious self-care or as we like to say SELF-FULL-NESS
Wake up and spend the first 10 minutes of your day with yourself – 10 minutes, no cell phone, TV, computer, partner, kid – just you.
Walk. Run. Skip. What’s YOUR thing – go do it. Even if it is just for 20 minutes – go do it
Pick something on your bucket list and do it. If you don’t have a bucket list sit down and make one!! What do you dream about doing?
Take a nap, go to sleep early or sleep in late.
Say no to something so that you can make time in your day to say YES to something that you really want to do – so that you can say yes to you
Take yourself on a date and splurge on you.
Go outside. Nature is restorative.
Drink more water
Eat good food
Turn up the music and DANCE.
Throw shit away – make a space for you so that you can do your thing.
Your turn – what are you going to do to be SELF-FULL today?