Being Kind to Yourself
Are you too hard on yourself? Do you hold yourself to standards that you wouldn't hold anyone else to? Yes, me too. We need to start treating ourselves even better than we would be our kids or our best friends because we will always be with ourselves. We will never leave ourselves as our kids and friends do at times. We in our this life with ourselves from beginning to end. We can never get away! So, it's of the utmost importance to treat ourselves better than anyone else in our lives because it's our life and no one else is living it for us.
We all have a tendency to hold ourselves to stringent standards and then beat ourselves up if we fall short. We have to-do lists everyday that are impossible to finish. We think we should be able to achieve all our goals in a week. We want to start a health and fitness routine and decide we are going to change our lifelong habits in a week with no problems. We are setting ourselves up to fail. And when we do we beat ourselves up, call ourselves names and consider all that we do failures. Just Stop the Madness NOW! It's time to be kind to ourselves.
Change is hard. There is no way around that. Our mind is doing everything it can to keep things exactly the same because it doesn't like things it can't predict. It's a survival mechanism. It's a way to keep you safe at all times. So, your mind will fight to keep you doing exactly the same thing everyday because it's predictable and therefore, safe. But we know that in order to improve our lives we need to make changes. So what do we do? Make a realistic plan for starters. Whatever it is you want to do you will need to be patient with yourself. Really think about what you are capable of with the schedule you have now and work in your goals when it is actually possible to do the work. And if you struggle with these changes, it's okay...you are supposed to! It means you are doing the real work of telling your brain, this is how it's going to be so get used to it.
I just read a book on habit building and in it, they said the most important aspect is to just keep doing it everyday as scheduled. That after long it will become automatic, like brushing your teeth. Don't get me wrong...doing a workout will never be as easy as brushing your teeth but the goal is to make it automatic so you don't even think about whether you are doing it or not. You just get it done. There will times you skip. And that's okay! Is there ever a time you skip brushing your teeth before going to bed? I'm going to guess yes. Do you beat yourself up over it? Probably not. It's the same thing with any new goal or habit. There will be times you are too tired or not feeling up to it. The important thing is to do it on a regular basis and don't skip the steps because you are being lazy. Discipline is really important but if you do miss a step, stop beating yourself up!
I have been intermittent fasting since January. I've lost almost 25 pounds. I'm really proud of how well I've done. I've been doing my workouts faithfully as well and I feel good. But I've also had a history of binge eating. I think part of this formed because for most of my life I've either been on a diet or off a diet. And when I was off a diet I had a habit of eating all of my favorite junk food before going back on the diet. It's a vicious cycle that a lot of us get caught up in. I had one of these incidents last week. And honestly, I set myself up to fail. I was meeting some friends for pickleball at 4 and that is usually when my eating window closes. I didn't really want to eat my big salad and then go jump around. I didn't want to wait until I was done playing to eat because that extended past the eating window longer than I wanted. (By the way, that is exactly what I should have done because it would have been preferable to what actually happened.) So I had a banana with a little peanut butter as my dinner. I thought I could just eat light today and I would indulge a little more the next day. But by around 7:30 I was starving. So what did I do? I went looking for food. I started with leftover potato salad in the fridge. Then went on to some cheeto's, then I may as well have some of that leftover cake.
For me personally I can usually have these foods in the house and not eat them. There are certain foods that I can't have in the house, like Dorito's because I know I can't resist them. But we had a bunch of leftover food from Memorial Day weekend and I had gone the last few days without touching it. But that all changed once I ate outside my eating window. That old mindset of on a diet/off a diet kicked in and not only did I eat junk but I ate a lot of it! Like I said, I set myself up for failure. So the next morning I was kind to myself about the whole situation.
I told myself that I had an incident but it was okay. I rarely do that anymore and it's okay to fall off the wagon occasionally as long as I get right back on track. I looked back at how far I have come when it comes to binge eating and how all those changes came about with baby steps and working on it over the long run. Honestly, this is a new approach for me. I typically bash and berate myself for being human and making a mistake. Even when I was the one who set myself up for failure. That didn't matter. I expect myself to be super human and deny myself actual food when I'm hungry. And when I didn't, I would consider myself a failure.
This is what we all must stop doing. I'm not saying you can use "being kind" to yourself as an excuse for not doing what you say you will do but don't beat yourself up if you make an honest mistake and then take action to correct it immediately. We are so hard on ourselves. Honestly, it's exhausting just thinking about it. If you're child or best friend had an eating incident where she ate too much would you badmouth and berate her? I'm pretty sure you wouldn't but we feel okay doing it to ourselves. We must treat ourselves as good or better than others in our lives. It's just you, the only one who will see you through till the very end. So treat yourself kindly. It's not that hard. We just tend to get into a habit of treating ourselves harshly early on in life and it's hard to break that habit. But we must.
It's time to be kind to ourselves. You know, unless you are a jerk! Then stop that too. But we have to stop calling ourselves names. (you know that is the number one rule of 'The Hopefulist'.) Bashing ourselves for not getting enough done when we are setting impossible standards. For thinking that we are super human and ultimately being disappointed when we fall short.
Come up with a realistic plan. Do what you say you are going to do. Build new habits. And don't be too hard on yourself when you have a misstep. This is not to say you can always let yourself off the hook. You know the difference between a misstep and when you are just being lazy. I want the best for you and you feel the best when you do the best. So let's get to it!
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Now go out there and be badass this week. You know I'm here, cheering you on!