Being the beginning of 2016, it is as good a time as ever to start positive daily habits which will support and encourage you in the year ahead. As easy as it is to depend on relationships to lift our spirits and make us strong, I truly believe that the best gift you can give yourself is the equipment in all you need to be happy and positive each day, so that any other boosts you receive are simply a bonus.
1. Recognize The Small Steps I Take!
As I woman, I find myself so much on the quest for perfection that I forget to appreciate small milestones which, although an indication of success, do not quash feelings of inadequacy. If your goal for 2016 is to lose weight or get fitter (for example) it's easy to be overwhelmed by the end goal instead of focussing on the journey and the small adjustments in your mindset that it will take to get there. And when you really think about it, it's absurd that you dwell on something that seems difficult and will easily put you off even trying, rather than on tiny things that are 100% in your control and ultimately form the building blocks to your success. So next time you choose a healthier meal, go for a run or squeeze in an ab class (to continue with the health example), recognize that you are already successful in your goals as you are actively going about doing something to achieve them.
2. Stop Comparing Myself.
Social media makes it easy for us to spend our days dwelling on a lifestyle that we don't have - making us feel like we aren't on the right path in terms of money, relationships or career. The truth is, that everyone is fighting their own battles, and these are never self evident online. We don't post about our failures, embarrassments or challenges, and neither do the people we aimlessly aspire to be - for their body, boyfriend or makeup collection. Whoever said that "comparison is the thief of joy" couldn't be more right. It squanders energy on a pursuit which is negative and really damaging to our precious self esteem which usually doesn't require any further hampering.
3. Be Grateful and Gracious.
Gratitude allows us to focus on the positives in life, which we are actively then able to leverage into creating more positives. By recognizing your strengths and the beauty of what you have, it makes it easy to wake up positive and happy each day, which is integral in achieving your dreams. If you think to yourself - I feel so strong today, thank goodness for my health and capable body - it cultivates appreciation for yourself, helping your self image, not to mention underscoring the value of your relationships. It's so easy to forget how unpleasant it feels to be sick or unwell, but it's important to realise how integral your health is to a good lifestyle, before your body has to remind you! At the same time, it's worth remembering that being grateful doesn't mean bragging about material things, but rather being gracious and remembering that not everyone is lucky enough to have what you do.
4. Take Breaks to Breathe
When you have a lot on your plate, it makes it hard to prioritize on what is most important, and it becomes hard to focus on one thing at a time. The best way to be more productive, rather than frantically rushing from one task to another, is to make a master list which covers everything you need to do (work wise and for your personal life) and then when you take a break, you are able to refer back to the list and see what progress you are making! The more you use To Do lists, the better you are able to use breaks to regroup and move onto your next task. And never underestimate the merits of a long bath!
5. Taking Care of Myself Helps Me Take Care of Others
This is the most amazing realisation to make. There is no point in committing to endless social engagements, helping your family, doing volunteer work, being a supportive friend and partner, only to become a fragile and frazzled version of yourself. It is not sustainable in the long term to go flat out until you become unwell, exhausted or unkept. Happiness is contagious, and no matter how hard you try to force it, it will elude you until you genuinely feel fulfilled as a person. You can then lift those around you to become better versions of themself, without doing it in the hopes that they will help you back. You need to be able to give selflessly and require nothing in return for it to be meaningful help. So work out what it takes for you to feel content - whether it's a good nights sleep, a good book and a bubble bath, or a facial.
What do you tell yourself daily to feel self-loved and happy? I'd love to know!