Greetings, 2018! I am long overdue for a regular self check-in, and oftentimes when that’s the case, it can be difficult to get the reflective juices flowing. With that in mind, I’m going to utilize an article recently published on mindbodygreen as a prompt! I’ve done similar exercises with these types of articles before, and I highly recommend this guided approach to self-reflection if you ever get stuck or bored with free-form journaling. This specific article is entitled 7 Ways to Boost Self-Love as You Move Into A New Year by Tanya Carroll Richardson, and it feels quite appropriate for my first major reflective exercise of 2018. Let’s hop to it!
1)Forgive yourself for something.
It’s taken some time, but I think I am finally forgiving myself for deciding not to follow through with grad school (read the full story here). In hindsight, I had chosen to pursue a Master’s in Nutrition for the wrong reasons–at the heart of it, I want to work one-on-one with people in order to help them improve some facet of their lives. Recently, I’ve come to realize that I can do this type of work in a wide variety of applications and settings, and I no longer feel that it’s necessary to obtain a secondary degree in order to make this possible. With this incredibly freeing realization in mind, I am more than ready to forgive myself for my decision to re-enter the workforce and continue questioning my true calling.
2)Quit playing small.
This one hits home for me. I’ve done a lot of playing small in my life thus far, and as I strive to live in alignment with my values moving forward, it’s going to require that I disrupt any habits or situations that don’t actually serve me. And it helps to recall the times in which I’ve done so before–I’ve been able to break off two separate emotionally abusive relationships, I’ve quit jobs that brought undue stress into my life, and I’ve given up stopped running 4+ miles a day in favor of an exercise routine that I actually enjoy. It’s empowering to reflect upon these non-traditional “accomplishments” and I think I will be doing so much more often.
3)Ask for what you need.
I’m pretty pumped for this one already. This week, I’ll make it a point to ask a few key people for opportunities to lead training sessions at my workplace, so that I can hone and cultivate the skills needed in working closely with others. Additionally, I will be asking the universe for direction–specifically, I’ve been wondering what specific talents and gifts I’m meant to share with others, and what value I’m meant to provide. Although I am constantly working to trust my intuition and my inherent value, I’m dying to know how I’ll actually be able to serve others in the future–maybe I should ask the universe for some extra patience as well!
4)Prioritize what’s important to you.
Well, here goes nothing! My top 5 priorities for 2018 are as follows:
1)Eliminate limiting beliefs while building a strong, ongoing practice of self-compassion, love, and resilience
2)Cultivate meaningful relationships
3)Seek out and capitalize upon opportunities to shift my career in the direction I desire
4)Integrate environmentally friendly practices, habits, and products into my lifestyle
5)Become a more active member of my local community by regularly volunteering/giving back
How empowering to actually lay them all out!
5)Find out who wounded your self-love.
This is an easy one–the boyfriends involved in the emotionally abusive relationships I mentioned above. It is all too easy and tempting to draw large-scale conclusions about your unworthiness when those ideas are being fed to you by someone who supposedly loves you. I feel like this is the stirring of a whole new blog post in itself…
6)Practice consistent self-care.
Lately, my interpretation of self-care has shifted toward something large and all-consuming that manifests itself in small, daily acts. Specifically, I see self-care as the overarching effort of getting your thoughts, behaviors, and energies into alignment with your values and desires, starting with the big things and then integrating that theme into the daily activities of life. For example, the most powerful form of self-care I can implement is to make sure my physical/emotional/financial wellness, career, and relationships are in check. Ironically, that’s exactly what I am attempting to do, in real time, via this blog! Then on a micro-level, that larger vision manifests itself as spending frugally, trimming down my closet to only the clothes that I love, carving out time to have dinner with friends at least twice per month, getting to hot yoga once per week, cuddling with my boyfriend, and reading books about topics that I absolutely love. For me, the best next step would be to physically note down/schedule these activities into my Ink & Volt planner where they can visibly tie into my larger goals and desires for 2018.
7)Observe your thoughts.
This is something I am finally practicing, and I can already sense that it’s paying off. In times where I could easily criticize and demean myself for making a mistake, I’m actively striving to stop that thought in its tracks, replacing it with something softer and kinder instead. For example, for the past few weeks, I’ve been consistently missing the subway by a matter of seconds because I forget to check the schedule ahead of time. Yesterday, after this happened yet again, I was tempted to scold myself–instead, I chose to think, “How can I remember to plan ahead next time? Now that this situation is largely out of my control, what can I do to better set myself up to successfully catch the train tomorrow?” This sequence of thoughts is much more useful and productive than the negative reinforcement of “I can’t believe you let this happen again–idiot!” As a result, I’m feeling motivated to build a visual cue into my morning routine whereby I’m reminded to check the train schedule an hour or so before I absolutely need to leave.
So there we have it! Tell me, what are some of your thoughts and reflections to the content of this article? Is this type of post useful, helpful, or insightful?