I’ve written all kinds of things about not getting discouraged and about celebrating your wins and about noticing your progress and being kind to yourself as you build your habits but I don’t think I have said this loud and clear yet:
PLEASE CHEER YOURSELF ON!
You probably aren’t used to cheering yourself on.
We all have a lot more training in keeping a detailed mental record of the ways we fall short of our plans, the times that we don’t meet our goals, and the things that don’t turn out the way we thought they would.
This isn’t the same as celebrating your wins. That’s a tricky practice in itself but, for many people, it’s a little more straightforward than cheering themselves on – you track something and celebrate when you see a change.
Cheering yourself on is motivating yourself to make an effort, it’s about noticing that effort, and reminding yourself that your effort matters.
Hmmmm, where have I heard that before? (imagine my friendly, slightly smirking expression here)
I’m thrilled to be able to offer you a gold star every day and to remind you that your efforts matter but I would also like for you to be able to practice that regularly on your own.
(Yes, I am asking you to put a practice on top of the practice you are already working on. I am ruthless like that. )
When I’m doing a Yoga with Adriene video and she asks us to say, aloud, ‘I am strong.’ I feel silly but I do it anyway and then that silliness is (mostly) replaced by the thought ‘Huh, I AM strong.” Which is way better for cheering myself on than the other thought (How long to I have to hold this?) that would probably be running through my head otherwise.
If I turn on an exercise video and say ‘Ok, Christine, let’s go!’ I feel much more energized that if I start with ‘Ugh, I guess I should do this.’ (You saw that vile word should in that sentence, right? *shudder*)
If I remind myself that I overcome challenges all the time, if I roll my shoulders back and take a deep breath before I begin my practice, or if I give myself a solemn nod or a high five in the mirror as I start my day, I feel better about my practice and my momentum.
All of those actions make me notice and acknowledge the efforts that I am making on my own behalf.
Now, I am not suggesting that you need to become sort of ridiculously-positive, high-energy whirlwind. After all, I DID say it was ok to grumble. You only need to do the things that work well for you. And frankly, if angry self-care or pushing through is all you need then forge ahead!
But I always like to have a variety of tools at my disposal and cheering myself on through my day, through a practice, or through a few extra seconds of plank has proven to be an extremely useful tool.
Cheering myself on never fails to remind me that even though things might be challenging, my efforts count.
So, today, I invite you to find a way to cheer yourself on as you build your habits.
Can you choose an encouraging phrase to repeat or an action to take that signals that you have shown up on your own behalf?
Can you set a reminder on your phone or your email that tells you that your efforts matter? You don’t have to make it an embarrassing string of words – you could choose a gold star (obviously!) or a turtle (slow and steady wins the race) or a crown or a medal or a cookie or anything else that helps you take a moment to notice your efforts and (hopefully) to agree that you are doing pretty damn good with this whole practice thing thankyouverymuch.
You can also do a screencap of the gold stars I have shared here and send them to yourself one at a time with scheduled emails.
(The details are up to you, of course. Just please find the thing that will serve you best – don’t do this just because it works for me!)
No matter what kind of self-encouragement you choose, I’m offering this gold star as encouragement from me.
As always, you matter. Your efforts matter. It is ok to take time to take good care of yourself and it is ok for you to choose the form that will take for today.
For the second year in a row, I’ll be posting a Go Team! message every day in January to encourage us as we build new habits or maintain existing ones. It’s cumbersome to try to include every possibility in every sentence so please assume that I am offering you kindness, understanding, and encouragement for your efforts right now. You matter, your needs matter, and your efforts count, no matter where you are applying them. You are doing the best you can, with the resources you have, in all kinds of difficult situations and I wish you ease. ⭐💚 PS – Some of the posts for this year may be similar to posts from last year but I think we can roll with it.