When I sit down with a new health coaching client I try to dig deep into their daily routines and attitudes to see what got them to where they currently are with their health and fitness. Sometimes it’s a general lack of knowledge about how to lead a healthy lifestyle. Sometimes it’s even information overload, and they don’t know where to start. But, I would say there is one pain point that is prevalent in at least 9 out of 10 new clients.
It’s not a chocolate addiction, or a slow metabolism. And, while stress and overeating are in the top 5 of the weight loss struggles leaderboard they pale in comparison to number one. What is it?
It’s the guilt people feel when they put themselves first. At a very young age, we are taught the we are supposed to put everyone else’s needs before our own. As we become adults, we work long hours, keep up the house, take Sally to ballet and Jimmy to football practice, then we come home and might have a few minutes to get ready for the next day. We eat in our car, at our desk, and on the run. We stay up late, and wake up early to manage our work and family responsibilities. And, we never take a moment to think about our own health…because to do so would be selfish.
It’s a terrible cycle and self fulfilling prophecy that you will never have time to do what you want. You’ll never be able to take a moment for yourself, because everyone needs your time more than you do.
Your Reality Check
The truth is simple. If you really are that important to everyone, if the world really will burn to the ground without you every waking moment…what happens if you’re not at 100%? If you being healthy enough to perform your responsibilities at optimum effort is so important, why are you not taking the time for yourself to recharge and be healthy?
If you drive a car hard all the time but never change the oil or get maintenance done, it will break. You are no different. Your body is a machine, and it can only take so much abuse and neglect before there is a serious problem.
How To Prioritize Your Self Care
Letting go of guilt and allowing yourself to take time for self care can be hard. But here’s a list of ways to start prioritizing your own health and wellness.
Make A List: Create a list of all of your daily and weekly responsibilities. Start at the top and number them from most important to least important. Now, think about how your current health impacts your ability to perform this list of responsibilities. Imagine how your ability to complete this list might be affected if your health were 10% worse. 25% worse. If you are struggling now, how might it affect others if you were in poor health?
Eliminate Negative Self Talk: Believe me when I tell you that your soul listens to your mouth. If you engage in negative thoughts, it will affect your daily life. Give yourself permission to make mistakes and fail. And give yourself permission to take time for self care without talking down to yourself for doing so.
Delegate: Go back to your list. Make three columns on a new piece of paper. One column for things that “Must Be Done By You”, like going to work, etc. Create another column for “Things That Steal Time”. And then make one final column for “Things I Can Delegate”. Can you ask someone to pick up the kids on Thursday so you can workout? Make it happen!
Pre-Pay for Help: This is a big one. Gyms like Planet Fitness make a fortune because they only charge $10 per month for a membership. It automatically comes out of your checking account, and the amount isn’t enough for you to be too bothered if you don’t go. After all…”It’s only ten bucks!”
If you drop a large sum of money on something, you’re more likely to use it. Payments make things easier. Payments also make it easier to shrug off. Pull the Trigger! Pay for 3 months of personal training all at once. Hire a coach, and pay upfront. Join the gym, but pay for the year upfront. After you do that…keep the receipt in a place that you see it every day. Especially on those days when you think you’re too busy or you just have too much on your plate to follow through.
Little things add up. Or, as I like to say, “Little hinges swing big doors.” Every little thing you can shift around in your schedule helps you free up time for self care. And doing so shouldn’t make you feel guilty. You are the most important person in your life. Everyone else in your life is affected by your health and wellness. So, if you are not taking care of yourself…who suffers?
Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping. Your ability to make good decisions and perform at a high level impacts more people than yourself. It is only when we put our own self interests ahead of others can we understand how effective we can truly be.
If you don’t know where to start, I’m here for you. Each and every week I set aside times for what I call Success Strategy Sessions. These short (and FREE!) coaching calls are designed to get you moving toward your goals and reaching them at lightening speed. During the call we’ll talk about where you currently are, where you’d like to be, and come up with some quick actionable steps you can take right away.
These calls are FREE, but I only have a limited amount of time to do them each and every week. They are “first-come-first-serve”. Schedule a free Success Strategy Session today!