Everyone knows how important it is to take care of you while building a business. It’s almost become a cliché – the expression coined by financial expert David Bach, “pay yourself first”, has come to represent across all disciplines, the notion of taking care of number one before turning your focus to the rest of a very needing world.
While it’s easy to parrot that principle, to be on board with the concept, it’s quite another thing to really do it, and stick to it. It’s very straightforward, to resolve to take better care of yourself, so why despite your best efforts does self care always go by the wayside? Do you seem to repeatedly start and stop noble efforts of self-care yet ultimately fall short at life’s one activity that should be as natural as breathing?
Life is complex. Understanding what motivates and compels your behavior can take a master’s degree of personal awareness. While it’s my passion to advocate for self awareness and psychological curiosity, sometimes you just need to try a new approach to changing behavior.
Try this: stop berating yourself about exercising more, or eating right, or what ever you think self care means – forget trying to make yourself improve your self care. Instead, turn your focus toward remembering and reinforcing the very perspectives and values that make you feel good about who you are as a person.
If I’m having a hard time motivating myself to consistently exercise, all the shoulds in the world won’t get me on the treadmill. BUT, if I can find a reason that resonates with a deeper desire, something that makes me feel good about myself, (other than a smaller butt) I find myself wanting to exercise. For example: Integrity is a value of mine, on all levels – so, if my life is in good order but I’m unhealthy because I’m not getting enough exercise, I’m out of integrity with myself. Now, that’s something I am motivated to do something about!
Another example: if keeping your word is important and you tell yourself you’re going to cut back how much time you spend at work and you don’t. Instead of focusing on what you “shouldn’t” be doing; focus instead on keeping your word to yourself -and how good that feels. It’s a much more gentle, and honest way of approaching behavior change.
If you start focusing on strengthening what is important to you deep down, you WILL be taking good care of yourself – then appropriate action (the exercise, time management, etc) will follow from there. Caring for yourself must start at the deepest level of your being and work outward.
Begin this practice by deciding for yourself what behavior changes you want to make. Then think about your deeper reasons for wanting to make the change – go deeper than the surface reason. See if you can tap into your true motivation to sustain the change. Remember with all new things, take small steps and reward your successes, however small they seem to you.
Your business needs you. Taking good care of yourself is as important to the health of your small business as having your books balanced. All the energy you spend stopping and starting self care takes away energy from your business. Learning to sustain your ability to care for yourself assures your ongoing success in business well down the road and toward the direction of your dreams.
It’s YOUR life…imagine the possibilities!