The New Year is when many of us set new self-care goals for the year ahead.
The challenge is that new habits are hard to stick with. If you’re anything like me, you have a list of all the new habits you’d like to build, and an even longer list of things you’d like to stop or do less of (going to bed late, less screen time, going sugar free etc). All of your new year goals can feel daunting. It’s important to remember that no one can successfully do all the things all at once. Attempting to do so is futile. It’s also unintentional self-sabotage.
For most of us, self sabotage is something we do unconsciously. We overload ourselves with tons of plans for change, but subconsciously we know that we can’t make all these changes at once… Our neurobiology doesn’t support it! So we unintentionally set ourselves up for failure, and then we give up.
I still struggle with tendencies toward self sabotage, but I’m worlds away from how I used to be. Having ADHD, I really understand how frustrating these cyclical patterns can be.
The other aspect of self sabotage is fear and procrastination - I’ve been an expert in both of these for as long as I can remember. Sometimes the idea of failing can be so overwhelming we don’t even get started. Or we constantly procrastinate because we feel we’re not ready until we’ve done [insert a million and one things] or become [another million things] yet. But tomorrow becomes yesterday real quick, and before you know it, it’s 2025 and you’re feeling guilty for all the things you promised yourself you’d do but didn’t. Guilt is another tendency of mine, but boundaries with myself and others have been key in navigating how it affects my choices. There’s no point in guilt unless it pushes you forward and encourages you to change in a way you want to- if it doesn’t leave it.
Over the last year there have been three steps I’ve been using to help me prioritize and simplify my self care and achieve the intentions I have set for myself. These steps have helped me not to self sabotage because I’m not overwhelming myself from the start.
Before you dive into these steps, a quick reminder that your basic needs should always be top priority if they’re not already being met. Getting enough sleep, nourishing your body regularly with foods that fuel, and moving your body, directly impact how you function - or don’t. Please, don’t neglect yourself in favor of achieving some goal in sacrifice of your mental and physical health. You can have it all if you take care of yourself first!
Make a list of your intentions
Prioritize your list based on one or two things that can enable you to follow through on your other intentions. For example, if my self care intentions were to exercise more, sleep 8 hours, meal prep regularly, practise face yoga daily; then my number one priority should be…sleep. Without it, I’ll be dragging my exhausted self through the day, grabbing at whatever food that boosts my glucose levels, and not having the energy to workout. Or worse, I’d workout hard despite being sleep deprived and completely burn out, and not get any benefit from it. If I care about my face, I know nothing competes with a good night's rest - not even face yoga (though it certainly helps). Prepping meals takes time, and energy - not easy or enjoyable when you're wiped. The number one priority on this list is sleep because it affects everything else. It either enables or disables you to do what you need to succeed with the other intentions.
Once you’ve gotten into a rhythm of practising your one or two (maximum) supporting habits, you can introduce new intentions. For example after consistently going to bed at 10 and waking up at 6, and meal prepping regularly, I have the energy to focus on creating a simple workout or face yoga routine. Once again, I start simple and small, doing what I can - just focusing on the habit rather than feeling overwhelmed with perfecting the task at hand.
We often want things to change overnight, but habits take a while to become ingrained and automatic. So go slow and steady, this is not a race. This is your life. Self care is a commitment to yourself. It is a priority, but it’s also a privilege, and a pleasure.
I have some very exciting things in store for you this year, but more on that soon!
Until then, I wish you success in all your endeavors of love, health, prosperity, business, creativity, and all things self care in 2024!