3 Steps Toward Being Intentional in Your Self-Care
by Deborah Goldstein, Driven Pros
Living with authentic meaning and aspiring to honor one’s own values and aspirations is easier said than done. This is why achieving Clarity is a challenge, but it’s a challenge worth seeking out. And since 2020 has already presented far more layers of challenge than we’re used to enduring, many of us are stepping up by seeking Clarity with more ambition than ever! We at DRIVEN have been hanging in there with you. And we’ll continue to offer calculated insight and programming covering all the aspects of Clarity that you’ll want to address to see desired results.
This time around, I’ll introduce you to the potential of gaining Clarity through an unexpected and perhaps underutilized approach: the practices and habits that you maintain each day that convert to self-care. Permit me to share with you my own personal methods of self-care, followed by a glimpse at how you can apply them to your life. The fulfillment of Clarity awaits as your reward!
Baby Steps Precede Giant Leaps.
I’m a creature of habit. It’s not a bad way to be since I don’t look at my habits as burdens, or as tethers, or even boring. My habits are intentional, and thereby give me a sense of liberation!
I’ve determined that when I take care of myself as opposed to sucking things up, I can show up at my best, in all aspects of life and career. To add to this, I am absolutely certain that when I attend to my personal care today, I’ll live my life more healthfully and comfortably in perpetuity. With this motive in mind, I’ve intentionally structured my life to include daily habits and practices, assuring that my basic self-care occurs routinely and instinctively.
To achieve self-care as I’ve personally defined it, I have broken down for myself the baby steps I must take each day. I’ve physically written down the chosen practices and habits to intentionally focus on and use this “checklist” to track them. This makes self-care into a game that I enjoy playing. And here’s the best part: I acknowledge that my best isn’t always the best. After all, I’m human like everyone else. If I accomplish these daily habits 80% of the time, it’s an accomplishment that I can live with. And here’s another benefit: Adhering to these practices and habits at a level of 80% gets me off my own back!
Gimme Three Steps.
It’s fascinating to observe how these habits of mine have evolved, and to consider the exotic practices I’ve dabbled in. I’ve recently gone through phases of practicing Face Yoga and even Intentional Deep Yawning. Other more streamlined healthy habits that have become baked into my DNA include my 30 morning push-ups and my consumption of approximately 75 oz of water daily.
Here are three steps you can take toward creating the habits and practices that are appropriate for you.
1. Take some time to journal about two questions: “The What” & “The Why”. Based on your life’s aspirations, career goals, and/or short-term needs or wants, come up with a “what” statement. What is the most important focus for you to address right now? What will it mean? For example, my devotion to self-care and wellbeing is my “what”. This manifests as exercise, healthy eating, enough sleep, proper hydration and conscious breathing. Some more common “whats” include being the best parent you can be, getting a promotion, finding a new job, becoming more organized, writing a book, quitting smoking, and alleviating stress.
Now address the more crucial question by listing all the reasons “why” these goals are so important to you. For instance, losing 10 pounds for vanity may not motivate you to trade away brownies for salad, but a history of diabetes in your family most certainly has a different emotional “why” impact.
The “why” could be in the positivity sense (like maintaining your health in order to feel energized and live strong & long). Or, it could be to scare yourself straight (as in having had a heart attack and waking up to your unhealthy ways before your life is cut short). Teasing out the “why” thoroughly is important, since conviction is the fuel that keeps us pointed toward our goals.
2. Build your road to success, one brick at a time. Break down your goal into baby steps. How will the very first steps toward your aspiration look? Make this determination, and then attempt to carve the “what” down even further. My commitment to good health, for instance, elicited a couple of journal pages, including doing 30 push-ups daily (just to keep up with Ruth Bader Ginsburg!) It will then become clear what you’ll need to do each day or week to achieve your “what”.
3. What gets counted, gets done. To guarantee your success, create an accountability strategy. You may need to physically “report in” to another person, and that’s perfectly acceptable, or what is referred to as an External Expectation by Gretchen Rubin in her book The Four Tendencies. Let me share with you “Goldie’s Habit Tracker” via two downloadable sheets. Sheet One is full of examples of what I’ve tracked during certain phases of life. Sheet Two is a blank for you to ExperiMent with. And remember: 80% adherence is considered success.
If you’re nodding your head while reading this but need some extra accountability, support and guidance (plus a cheerleader), and more clarity about how to get “there”, consider investing in DRIVEN’s new eBook Intentional Productivity: 12 Principles to Design a Life of Clarity, Focus and Fulfillment. This self-paced, asynchronous program will guide you to define your “what” and your “why”, and escort you toward fulfilling a better life. Coming this month!
If you enjoy what you’re reading and are considering living life more fully, schedule a complimentary consultative session with DRIVEN HERE.
Deborah Goldstein is the founder of the Driven Professionals, a community driven to support the health, well-being & success potential of NYC professionals. Deborah is also the founder of Goldie’s Table Matters, providing education and entertainment to both corporate and private clients nationwide. http://drivenpros.com