When we buy new tires for our car, the shop makes sure the tires are balanced and aligned so we have the smoothest ride possible. The balance and alignment also make sure all of the moving parts on the car last longer. A shaky, rattly tire will shake and rattle the rest of the car apart if we let it go long enough.
Self-care is a big buzzword these days and I think it’s a good one. We all know we need it. We all love it when we do it. But most of us don’t do it as often as we need it!
Whether we’re at the beginning of forming a new habit or we’ve been practicing a habit for a while, it’s a good idea to give some attention to maintaining that habit for the long run. At the very beginning, the new habit may feel so good that we’re excited and enthusiastic and we think we’ll never go back to the old way of doing things. As time goes on, and maybe we experience some stressful situation, or our energy levels decrease, or life just goes on, the new habit can feel ‘harder’ to maintain and it’s easier to go back to old, familiar habits and routines.
As much as I believe in positive self-talk and looking at what’s good in our lives rather than dwelling on what’s not to our liking, I am also a firm believer in being honest with ourselves when things just aren’t going the way we’d like them to! So, let’s spend some time looking at the things that leave us feeling like we are not on the path to our joy and to our goals.
Does maintaining my body mean I have to always stay the right size and weight? Does it mean I can never do that super-fun sport in order to prevent bumps and bruises? Does it mean I have to eat only organic, responsibly grown food and never, ever eat a fast food meal? Does it mean I have to work out 3 hours a day and maintain a well-toned body that a model would be proud of? Does it mean I have to live with the fear and anxiety that one little thing I do can mess up my entire body forever and always? Does it mean I have to be perfect? Well that’s not what it means in my book! My idea of body maintenance is similar to maintaining self-esteem and joy. I do it with constant, positive reinforcement.
Recently I heard someone say that it takes five positive things to balance out, or cancel out, one negative thing. This includes thoughts, discussions, things we read, and things we hear. So, while I’m on the theme of maintenance, let’s take one of our tools, namely affirmations, and apply it to the maintenance of our self-esteem and our joy. You can think of this as your positive self-talk. Affirmations that work, and that bring about results, are positive, present tense and personal. I like to add another “P” word, and that’s powerful.
Let’s look at a list of tools that we use on a regular basis to make changes to our attitudes, our bodies and our self-esteem. These are practical tools for everything from weight management to attitude adjustment to expanding the world of possibilities available to us. You may have more than the ones I’ve listed below, or yours might be different, but here’s a starting point.
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