The commitment to self-care must be a daily job. You would not blow off your work day and make excuses not to go; therefore, you cannot blow off your commitment to yourself.
This idea was sparked after having a conversation with a friend of mine. She is a spin instructor, in addition to her regular 9-5 job. We were together on a Friday night and she said she had to be at work to teach spin at 8:30 the next morning. My thought was that her job is to exercise. She can’t decide not to go because she doesn’t feel like it. There are students who are counting on her, who specifically wake up early on a Saturday morning just to take spin class with her.
Exercise is something that I have never had a great love for. It is an aspect of my life that I do because I know my body needs it. It keeps me in shape, in less physical pain and allows me to enjoy yummy food without calorie counting (too much). Let me state this again: I actually do not like exercising. It is not something I feel compelled to do. Most of the time my body does not crave it. Usually, if given a reason to miss my regular work out days I will easily let working out fall to the side for another activity, commitment or appointment somewhere.
I have been exercising at my gym regularly, a minimum of 3 times per week, for fifteen years. So on the outside it looks like I am committed to myself and I suppose, in a sense, I am. Have there been weeks where getting to the gym has not happened at all? Yes. Have there been months at a time where I was not able to work out due to an injury and wound up in physical therapy instead? Yes. Have there been vacations when I did not make working out a daily priority? Yes. As I said I am good at finding reasons not to exercise and I am sure many of you can relate.
This conversation with my friend sparked a different perspective. This perspective is that my commitment to my self-care must be made daily. I must renew it each day. A daily commitment to myself to exercise, as if I had to get up each day and go to my “job” because someone is counting on me to be there. The person counting on me is me. If I can stick to my word for someone else, I asked myself, aren’t I important enough to stick to my word for me?
Yes, I can honor my word to myself. I can make a commitment to myself. Then how do I approach this commitment to make it achievable? I do not want to sabotage myself and set myself up to fail. That only leads to a lot of negative self-talk, I told you so’s, etc.
I decided to begin a silent experiment with myself that very evening when I spoke with my friend. I will share it with you and I invite you to do the experiment too. This experiment is about making a daily commitment to yourself for your own self-care. For me it is exercise but for you it may be something else like good food choices, meditation, journaling, practicing a craft, reading something uplifting. You get to pick. Here is the catch: when you make the commitment it is decided on daily and only for the next day. Break it down. Your commitment to your own self-care is the job you need to do for you.
If I say I will exercise every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the next year I am bound to miss one of those days. When I do, I will view it as letting myself down and that can cause a spiral of letting go of the commitment all together because once we screw it up we have to start again and many of us don’t. It is like the New Year’s Eve resolution that lasts a week, month or even two. And we say, “I tried.” Try is a kill word to yourself. The deeper mind hears the word try and says to itself, “I don’t have to.” In hypnosis one of the laws of the deeper mind is the harder your try the more you can’t. You say, “I tried to get up early but I hit snooze four times and did not get up early, but I tried.” I say you did not try. You gave yourself an out by saying try. Try is a failure word to our deeper mind. It tells the deeper mind that you really don’t mean it, it really does not have to happen, you can actually skip it and fool yourself into being satisfied that you made an effort. Instead, we must use different words in our self-talk vocabulary—words and statements like “I will”, “I am going to”, “the effort I am putting into this is”, “my intention for the day is”, “my commitment to myself is”, “it is important to me to accomplish this task because”. Can you see how the energy and meaning of words and statements like these are different from “I’ll try”?
Here are the daily commitment steps, and they are really very simple:
- Remember that this is a daily practice.
- Everyday you pick what that self-care activity will be, for the next day only. It may be the same thing each day or it may be something new.
- Everyday you pick the time for the next day that you will set aside for self-care.
- Say it out loud to yourself. When we do this we are stating our intention out loud not only to our self but to the universe. We are then using more of our senses. Speaking it lets us hear it. Everything we say has a vibration and we feel it. Saying it out loud to yourself, or someone else, makes it real. When it is real we are less likely to blow it off.
- When you wake up the next day keep the commitment you made to yourself the day before, and at the time you set, do it!. It is your job.
- Once you follow through and keep that commitment, thank yourself for for doing it, for following through. Feel proud.
- Pick tomorrow’s commitment.
When we then follow through with the commitment we feel good. We tell our inner self that she/he is worthy, important and loved. It is your daily job to take good care of you—physically, emotionally and spiritually. No one else can do this for you. Make it happen. You can do it. One day at a time you can accomplish anything.