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Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes

Perhaps one of the things in your life you wish would change is how you feel all the time. It’s certainly one of my priority areas so I’ve started to look at little changes I can make that will, over time, help me to feel happier. This blog post brings together some of the ideas that have been floating around in my head over the last few weeks surrounding self-development. Take it or leave it but these little nuggets of wisdom have really helped me so I thought I’d share them all with you! You might have heard of Einstein’s definition of insanity – doing the same things over and over but expecting different results. With no offence intended, it seems we’ve got a lot of insane people out there, if Einstein was correct. Me being one of them! The truth is though, that nothing changes if nothing changes!

Check-in with Your Goals

Start with getting your goals written/drawn up in big colourful felt-tip on your bedroom wall. Don’t crowd your poster, just keep it focused on your main goals. It’s the first thing you’ll see when you wake up, and you want it to give you a really motivating start to the day. Maintaining a healthy mindset geared towards your personal self-development journey definitely requires a little creativity at times! I’ve found this to have a really positive impact on my morning routine. It’s like giving yourself a little pep-talk! Sends me off with a little spring in my step each day because I’m clear and focused on what I’m working for and what I will achieve if I keep going.

Routine

It wasn’t until starting my own business I began to appreciate the benefits of cultivating healthy routines and sticking to them (not just for business, but for self-development too). The fear that I would be plain, unremarkable and boring in doing so, has dissipated. I realised that having even the most basic, positive daily habits pinned down has helped me to cultivate a more optimistic and upbeat perspective. Plus, it has taught me the importance of prioritising self-care. I started with a few little personal routines first. These included my skincare regimen (washing, cleansing, toning and moisturising my face every morning and every night). Reciting my goals each morning and night. Other examples could be sitting down for breakfast every morning while you check your emails or putting your make-up on while watching YouTube videos.  Whatever the routine, the longer we go each time without breaking it, the greater the sense of pride, accomplishment we tend to feel. A feeling like we’ve got our things in order. I feel in control when my basics are up to date. I think we all know that feeling of difficult days made worse by the fact that we rushed out the door that morning without any breakfast.

Treat Yourself How You Treat Your Friends

Try and notice the times you’re making yourself feel worse by telling yourself all the things you should be doing, or should have already done or should have done differently. If you can, take a moment to observe any instances where you may be allowing your inner critic to put you down and make you feel bad with their judgement of you (because I guarantee, they’re being unfair and irrational). It can help to write what it says down, and then on paper, challenge it. Ask it, is that really a fair take on where I’m at? Whatever the weather, be kind to you. Make a point of thinking nice things to and about yourself. Better yet, write them down! Make another poster of your favourite affirmations. Even if you may not believe them, such as “I’m happy and successful.” “I’m really accomplished.” “I’m amazing and I love myself.” These are all things you would say to a friend so they absolutely apply to you too. Do this REGULARLY! Even if you feel disingenuous doing it.  Ever heard the phrase “You’ve got to fake it to make it”? It applies perfectly to self-development. By telling yourself nice things enough, over time, you are gradually training your brain to change it’s pattern. Out with the old, nasty thoughts and in with the kind new ones. Brain science baby!

Show Up for Yourself

Every time I need to write a blog, it’s like this huge deal in my head. “I’ve got writers’ block, I can’t think of anything, I’ve thought of something but it’s not interesting enough…blah blah.” My ability to procure excuses and procrastinate is second to none when it comes to blogging. Ironically, in this time, I get myself so wound up that haven’t written anything but I won’t have actually gone to my computer, sat down and tried. If I’m honest with myself, these excuses are just my brain’s way of talking me out of doing it because it’s not immediately rewarding and I know this because you know what I’ve noticed? Every time I sit my ass down and actually make a start at it, I usually get it done fairly soon after that. Then I get to bask in all that My-Blog-Is-Up-To-Date glory. My point is, when there’s a thing we know we need to do, and we don’t do it, it’s usually a case of needing to take the plunge to realise after how easy or not-so-bad-after-all or how amazing it was. Get that blog written, get that report typed up, get that hair did, do that skydive. I’m serious, this tip applies to all self-care and adventure items as well as work-related stuff. Whatever is important to you is important. Continually showing up for yourself, especially when you don’t feel like it, will build your self-esteem and self-respect because it will reinforce the belief, in yourself and others, that you deserve to be successful (in the broadest sense of the word), loved and cherished.

"If I loved myself..."

Guiding us forward we have this little gem to help us out. You can whip this little trick card out the deck and it’s going to be like your little shoulder angel. Call upon it whenever you’re faced with a new decision you have to make.  Or there’s something you have to deal with because it’s going to or is already affecting you. OK, so say there’s some huge decision you have to make about your job, or your house or your partner, or even a relatively smaller decision like how to dress today. You’ll be much better equipped to respond in these scenarios in a self-loving way if you’re regularly practising the following:
Asking yourself “If I loved myself…”
It’s the key to conducting yourself in a manner congruent with your own intrinsic values and moral code. In other words, it is important to show concern for your own feelings as you would for others’. That is, with gentleness, concern and caring.  In doing so, you are listening to your feelings and making it more likely you’ll continue with the right actions to meet your needs. Asking yourself “what would I do if I loved myself?” is the same as “how would you advise your best friend in this scenario?” because you love your friend and you want what’s best for them. So it’s like you’re being your own best friend! Finally! Have you ever stayed in an unhealthy relationship for too long? Or in a job that was making you unhappy? It could come in all shapes and sizes, but you could find yourself saying to yourself “If I loved myself, I would eat more salad because I know it’s good for me.” Or, “If I loved myself, I would quit my job and get a new one because I hate it.” The main thing is to actually do it though. It sounds simple, but many of us simply don’t do this because we think we are being selfish! Or that our own needs are not important. They are. It is not selfish to care about yourself and your self-development.