Be gracious with yourself.
This was the most valuable lesson I learned this past year. Working out, and then stopping entirely for 3 months…then going back to the gym and feeling so discouraged. Laying in bed for over an hour and realizing I could have spent time with God. Watching episode after episode of Jane the Virgin, Friends, Fuller House, or New Girl just so I didn’t have to complete my therapy homework or journal why I was feeling sad and depressed. Not eating meals or skipping meals because I told myself I don’t need energy to just lay around the house.
People, 2017 was a rough one of learning to stop condemning myself. Grace. Have grace for yourself, dear Jacqui. Be kind to yourself with the words you say about yourself, with how you treat your body, with how you spend your time.
We usually put ourselves last on our to-do list. When I have time, we say. When I am feeling more up for it, we say. When I am not so freaking lazy, we say. When I finally get my act together and change, we say.
If we wait to do things when we feel like it, we will most likely stay stuck in our toxic routines.
For the month of January, Paul and I are challenging ourselves to go vegetarian. We have planned and prepped meals ahead of time, we are exercising 5-6x/week, and we are investing in our health to see what changes we see.
You need people. I wouldn’t stick to this health journey if it wasn’t for Paul, my friend Christy who is a trainer, my family asking about how our eating is going, my girlfriends in my Celebrate Recovery step study, and one of Paul’s best friends who I text to let him know if I wasted the morning or did what I planned to do. It is easy to slack off, make excuses, find what’s more convenient, or talk yourself out of why you originally set the goals that you did when you were really motivated.
The key is to focus on the smaller goals within your big goal. Instead of tracking how much weight I will be able to lift by a certain date, or permanently change my diet – I set goals for one week or one day at a time. Whatever it takes to see progress and be encouraged. The larger goal is important, but not more important.
We are more likely to keep going even if we have a cheat day or sulk into laziness for a day or two to realize it’s worth getting back into the healthier routine you originally wanted to create. It helps us get out of our self condemning mindset, recognize what should change so we avoid going there again, and be gracious with yourself to keep making the progress you are already seeing.
Some questions to ask yourself if you look at an area you want to change:
- What area are you dissatisfied with? Why?
- What is your big goal that you want to achieve in that area?
- What is a small goal within that big goal that you can start working on today? What is a small goal within that big goal that you can implement this week?
- Who can you ask to help keep you accountable? How often do you want them to check in with you?
- What self-condemning thoughts come to mind? Write them down. Now write down what you can say that would help you practice being gracious with yourself!