February Focus: Love

We love our children, our spouse, our families, our animals,  and we show it in many ways. From the everyday tasks of preparing meals, shuttling those kids around, planning fun activities and communicating words of love, we are always expressing our love for others. But what about loving you? How do we show love for ourselves? In this month of Valentine’s Day and also the second month of the year, notorious for abandoned resolutions, give yourself attention, love, and kindness, and acknowledge your accomplishments.
Feb 7, 2012

Attention – this is the starting point and may be where we need the most support. I can’t tell you the number of days I’ve left the house taking my little one to preschool and realized halfway there that I didn’t even look at myself in the mirror that morning. I brushed my teeth over his shoulder and combed his hair while pulling mine into a bun. I didn’t give myself a minute of focused attention. This is what has to change. But how? There are simple steps we all can be taught to take each day – wake up 15 minutes earlier, get lunches and school bags set the night before…tricks to give us a little more time. That’s the how. But I think the deeper question is why we don’t give ourselves attention or love or kindness. Once we can tap into the why and bust out of that cycle, the how is so much easier to incorporate into our lives.

If asked why we don’t make taking care of ourselves a priority, many will respond that we just don’t have the time, there is too much going on, we don’t have the money (for a gym membership, a massage, a date night), we don’t know how (to start a workout routine, to cook healthy meals, to manage our time better), etc. This is the tip of the iceberg of “why?” These are our reasons, also known as excuses that validate us for not taking care of ourselves. We can get stuck here for years, cycling through each round of excuses as the seasons change. But what is beneath these excuses for you? Why do you let a lack of money get in the way of quality time with your partner or stop you from attending a girls’ night out? Why do you buy the same processed foods each week in the grocery store when you know there is a better way? Take some time to look at these questions. Journal your thoughts, listing the reasons you don’t do what you want and know you should do. Then ask yourself why. When you get that answer, ask yourself why again. What is at the root of this for you?

I recently started a part-time job, 4 days a week, to keep some consistent income flowing in while I build my new business. Oh boy – has this allowed a whole new round of excuses to pop up for me not taking care of myself! In my fourth week of this new schedule and with only two days of exercise accomplished during that time, I am seeing that I need to find a way to prioritize some of my goals. I’ve been doing all the things I need to get done for others first. I’ve been a diligent employee, a responsible mom, a mediocre student, and an absentee new business owner! I’ve had the excuse of no time as my current “go to” for not building my business and not exercising. Life could move along like this for a long time, with me feeling accomplished and busy yet dissatisfied and separate from my real dreams. If I ask myself WHY I am allowing this new routine to get me off track to my goals, both fitness and business, I hear rumblings of the sense of responsibility I have to perform well and be “a good employee” at this new job. There’s fear that I need to earn money to support myself and my son, a new business will take time to build and I need something stable now. As I drill down into my psyche, fear is at the root of it all. For me, as exciting as it is to build the life I dream of, it’s scary to put myself out there and grow my business. All of those reasons/excuses are hiding the fear beneath it all that keeps me from taking action. What am I so afraid of?

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” ~ Marianne Williamson

When you ask yourself why you don’t do what you want and know you should do, you may also find fear is at the root. Fear has many disguises, from laziness to over-achieving, and the best remedy I know to fear is ACTION.

So starting now, I am going to wake up 30 minutes earlier three days each week to do this simple yet powerful workout routine in my home before my day of doing begins… because getting that exercise in three days during the week is going to feed me in ways sleeping for an extra 30 minutes could never!

Action begets action. The momentum created by seeing goals accomplished and feeling successful in your life and health will propel you forward in other areas too. What action can you take today to take care of you? Remember to be kind and loving to you. Spend some focused attention on you. Acknowledge your accomplishments. Be supportive and compassionate. Treat yourself like you do your loved ones.

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