One of the most important relationships in your life is the one you have with yourself. How often do you nourish it?
How often do you make yourself, or your own happiness, a priority? You spend a lot of time giving. Giving yourself to others, your work. Life gets busy and you often put yourself last.
You sometimes commit to doing things you don’t feel like doing.
Some days, you can’t help but beat yourself up over a stupid mistake you’ve made.
You have fear of being judged stopping you from doing and trying things you’ve always wanted to do. Perhaps, you’ve heard the world tell you that it’s “too late” for you to make a change, to try new things, to stir things up.
Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s never too late. It’s never too late to make a change- and all big changes happen with a single step or a small mindset shift.
20 THINGS TO START DOING FOR YOURSELF
1. Learn to say “no.”
How often do you say “yes” to things you don’t necessarily feel like doing? Commit to doing things you know you don’t want to do? It’s okay to say “no.” Not only is it okay, it’s important to learn to say “no.” Learn to say it without feeling guilty and set boundaries.
2. Start facing your problems, head on.
Having something hanging over your head- whether it may be, can be mentally exhausting. It’s the last thing you think of before you go to bed, and the first thing you think of, the moment you open your eyes. Sit down with a piece of paper, and ask yourself “what is one small step that I can take RIGHT NOW?” Problems don’t resolve themselves, so don’t be afraid to take action, even if it’s very small. Don’t wait until last-minute, acknowledge the problem and take action.
3. Make yourself a priority.
Sometimes, you want to keep pushing through, no matter how tired or exhausted you are. You give a lot of yourself to others, but how much do you give to yourself? Sometimes it’s hard to come to a realization that yes, your needs matter. You can be a parent, a partner, a spouse, you’re running or starting a business, you’re a brother, sister, maybe you’re taking care of a loved one. Don’t stop giving yourself to others, but realize that you can’t pour from an empty cup. Grab lunch with a friend. Read a few pages of a book first thing in the morning, grab a cup of coffee from your favorite place, on your way home from work. Your needs and feelings matter.
4. Be gentle with yourself.
Pay attention to the way you talk to yourself. Do you tend to put yourself down, when things don’t go your way? How often do you criticize yourself for mistakes you’ve made? Be gentle with yourself. Talk to yourself the same way you’d talk to a friend or a little sister. Guard your speech– especially when you talk to and about yourself.
5. Learn to be happy for others.
From my experience, this is something that is a bit difficult for a lot of people. Why? The answer is simple: envy. It’s not always easy to be happy for someone when you see them finally catching a break when you’ve been working hard for years and are still trying to catch yours. I have a very simple mindset that I dive into whenever those feelings of jealousy take over: I feel happy for that person. I treat that as proof that it CAN be done. Think of it at as the Universe (or God or Divine Presence, whatever you believe in) whispering to you “these are the things you want, they’re coming your way.” When you see people who’ve accomplished things you hope to accomplish one day, be happy. Learn from them. Let go of the comparison, don’t allow yourself to become bitter and lose focus of what’s important to you.
6. Start forgiving and learn to let go.
Learn to forgive, not just yourself, but others, too. Don’t hold grudges- they don’t serve you. Forgive yourself for the bad decisions you’ve made. It takes courage to do that, to admit that. So be courageous and learn to let go and move on.
7. Work on small goals, every single day.
Keep growing, keep learning. It’s okay to take small steps. Small changes lead to big results and every major change starts with a single step.
8. Start noticing the beauty of small, everyday things.
You don’t have to wait for something big, huge to happen, in order to celebrate, to be happy or excited. Beautiful and amazing things happen every single day- you just have to learn to notice them.
9. Once in a while, take a mental day off.
Okay, so we can’t always afford to take an entire day off. But perhaps, you can take a few hours a week and spend that time clearing your mind? Meditating, journaling, reading, or simply sitting in a park, staring at the sky, listening to the wind, feeling the sun on your skin. Whatever you choose to do, remember to turn off your phone, to just disconnect from the world, once in a while.
10. Be yourself.
Don’t listen when the world tells you that you’re “too old” to try something new, or that it’s “too late” for you to do something incredible with your life.
11. Cherish and nurture your relationships.
How many of us have good friends, know amazing people, that we haven’t called or written to in years? When life gets busy, when we “grow up” and suddenly have to deal with all kinds of stuff like school, or family, career or a mortgage, everything else becomes less important. Sometimes we get lost in that “chase” we forget to appreciate how great some of our relationships are; with our partner, mother, friend. If you don’t already, start nurturing those relationships. Take time out for a weekly lunch, or a phone call with someone you love. It’s the people around us who make this life so great. Happiness is being able to share things like your small victories, with someone you love.
12. Start making time for doing the things you love.
Maybe you used to paint, played an instrument, maybe life got so busy that you no longer seem to have time to read, even? Make time for things you love, things that bring you joy, things that put a smile on your face.
13. Learn to celebrate your victories.
How often do you tell yourself “go you!” or “good job!”- my guess is that for most of us, it’s not very often. Because once you accomplish one thing, you’re either want to get better at it, or you already have your sight set on another goal. However small, start celebrating your victories.
14. Start spending more time in the present.
This present moment is all you have, now, is the most important moment, always. Stop wishing you were someplace else– that’s something most of us do, all the time. Try being more mindful, learn to pay attention to the present moment.
15. End toxic relationships.
Doing this can sometimes be painful, and scary. Especially if we’re talking about long-term friendships, relationships. Realize that if there comes a point when you give more of yourself, but receive nothing in return, other than constant negativity, emotional dumping- it’s time to move on.
16. Start treating your body well.
Eat healthily, it’s really not as difficult as you might think. Ditch the soda, start reading labels (you’d be surprised at how many foods marketed as “healthy” are complete garbage). Be gentle with your body. Stretch every morning and night, try dry-brushing, spend some time outdoors. Skip the elevator and take the stairs. All of these small things will add up and help you feel better.
17. Start doing more things that scare you.
Getting out of your comfort zone is the only way to grow. Trying new things is sometimes scary- but it can leave you feeling free, accomplished and it’s the only way to become courageous. Are there any things you’ve been putting off doing or trying for years? Don’t listen to fear, don’t give it power. You have to feel the fear and do it anyway.
18. Create a regular gratitude practice.
I’ve always thought of myself as a grateful person, but it wasn’t until I started a daily gratitude practice, that I’ve realized how much I have taken for granted over the years. With regular gratitude practice, you start paying attention to all the “good” in life. You start seeing just how great your life is, despite some of the struggles. There is so much to be grateful for, even if your circumstances are far from ideal.
19. Stop waiting + start doing.
If you wait for a perfect moment, or an opportunity to come, you might spend the rest of your life waiting. Stop waiting. Don’t put things off for years. Start doing, start where you are.
20. Start giving more love to yourself, and others.
Here’s one of the most important things to start doing for yourself: give more love. To yourself and those around you. At work, at home, when getting groceries- be kind. Sometimes, it seems like the world is a scary, mean place. Something as simple as a store clerk giving you an attitude can ruin your day- remember to always be kind. It’s up to us to help make the world a kinder, more loving place. Be kind to others, guide them and help whenever you can.