goal-setting, self-care

Step five: Change takes time and persistance: Take care of yourself lovingly


caring for yourselfNever give up caring for yourself. Plan to succeed.

Plan each week to succeed. Sit down each week and while referring to the goals you set, plan in appointment times to care for yourself. Have a set time you organise your week if you can, and plan at the end of a week or the beginning of the next one.
Treat your time to care for yourself as an important appointment. When you make important appointments with other people, you only cancel them in a dire emergency, then you reschedule. As you plan your week, tell yourself that the appointments to care for yourself will change your life. Keep that important appointment, and don’t let your busy life or others’ lives stop you taking the next small step towards the goal you have set yourself.
Keep your appointment even when you don’t want to. A new behaviour can take weeks to become an automatic habit. At first you might find it quite easy to keep your appointments with yourself, but once the novelty wears off you might find it more difficult to consistently keep walking towards your goals. When the novelty wears off, the real work of creating this new ‘caring for yourself’ habit begins.You might find yourself quite suddenly cancelling an appointment and going grocery shopping, as I did once instead of going to the gym.  Watch out for those moments when you find yourself skipping an appointment with yourself, and keep it instead. You will feel so proud of yourself afterwards!

When at first you don’t succeed…

Remember to be your own best friend. Lovingly and patiently forgive yourself when you fail to keep that appointment to care for yourself. I have lovingly forgiven myself each time I avoided the gym, forgot the gym, injured myself and felt too much in pain to go to the gym… until I knew I wasn’t going to give up on myself, and that I had just better turn up.

Be kind but firm to yourself. A loving and wise friend patiently forgives and then problem-solves with you how to make things better when you make a mistake. So learn to respond to yourself as a good friend would when you are upset and disappointed that you didn’t  care for yourself as well as you wanted to. Forgive yourself, and then quietly plan the next week a little better, a little differently, or with a little more determination.

Over time you will find that a friendly kindly gentleness towards yourself combined with a steely persistence to keep walking towards your goals means that you will create new, long-lasting caring habits towards yourself. I have personally found that each new habit becomes easier to create, and gives me increased joy and pleasure in my life.

I’m working in partnership with you the reader and I like to know what you are thinking! Please feel free to write your thoughts, questions, and comments at the bottom of this page. 

Follow me if you like this post and want to know more about how you can develop strengths in your child with minimum fuss and effort. You won’t be flooded with emails. I only write every week or so. 

I like to share my coaching ideas with as many people as possible, so please Tweet this post or follow me on

Twitter; and share this post and the excellyourchild.com website with other like-minded families.

Warmly,

Anne

goal-setting, self-care

Step three: Caring for yourself takes persistance


Now I have made my self-care goals – then what?

care for yourselfWe have all begun new habits of caring for ourselves and then started ‘forgetting ‘ them and/or suddenly found that we have more urgent things to do than caring for ourselves. I want to reassure you that you are not the only one to find your willpower and enthusiasm is not enough to continue the new habit after a few weeks, or even a few days. Your life has not changed. It continues to expect you to care  for everyone and everything else first.  Perhaps deep down you also secretly expect that care for yourself comes only after care for others.

For inspiration at this point I suggest you reread my posts one and two on why YOUR self-care is vital for your family’s  health, let alone yours.

To continue – events and people in your life often sabotage your best efforts to care for yourself first. It is not enough that you have made wonderful goals to care for yourself. It is certainly only a beginning when you tell those around you that things are changing around here and that you are now going to do …whatever your ‘caring for yourself’ habit is. You have to ensure it happens by planning for success.

Step three:  Goals can remind you to persist when your life threatens to take you over again. Make them a visual reminder as to why you are creating this new ‘caring for yourself’ habit. 

  • Have your ‘caring for yourself’ goals easily visible to you. Place them somewhere you can look at them any time to keep you motivated. There will be times you  will forget why you wanted this new habit so badly, and your goals will remind you. Have them easily visible so when you feel tired, stressed, worried, or too busy to keep that weekly appointment with yourself, you will remember why you want this new ‘caring for yourself’ habit.
  • Make your goals visually pleasing and powerful.You can use colour, laminate them, or write them on a lovely piece of paper. To help my ideas flow more freely, I often use a creative mind map.
  • Find the right tool so you can plan your week carefully every week. Buy a calendar or a diary where you can easily see the whole month or week at a glance, and look at it at least once a day, preferably in the morning. There are many very good diaries which open up to the whole week and the Flylady website has excellent calendars
  • Place your new planning tool and your page of goals together where you can see  them easily. You can sellotape your goals inside your diary, or pin them up near your calendar. Place your diary or calendar in a room you spend a lot of time in, such as your kitchen or bedroom or office. You can use your I-pad or laptop for your goals and weekly calendar instead if those wonderful tools are always with you.

Step four talks about how to plan using a dairy or calendar.

I’m working in partnership with you the reader and I like to know what you are thinking! Please feel free to write your thoughts, questions, and comments at the bottom of this page. 

Follow me if you like this post and want to know more about how you can develop strengths in your child with minimum fuss and effort. You won’t be flooded with emails. I only write every week or so. 

I like to share my coaching ideas with as many people as possible, so please Tweet this post or follow me on

Twitter; and share this post and the excellyourchild.com website with other like-minded families.

Warmly,

Anne

goal-setting, self-care

Step four: When the going gets tough – plan to succeed. Care for yourself first.


When the going gets tough – don’t stop.

caring for yourselfWhen I begin a new self-care habit, I often don’t feel like doing it, or I forget to. I know from lots of hard experience that if I don’t plan time during the week to care for myself,  I won’t. And even more, if I don’t keep reminding myself that I am making an important weekly appointment with myself, I won’t keep it. Other things will suddenly seem more important and I’ll cancel on myself. All the busyness and urgency of my life will suck up any time I have put aside to look after myself. However, something quite magic happens when you persist with keeping your self-care appointments. It beceomes much easier to find the time and energy and you begin to enjoy the new habit.

Do keep caring for yourself – even when you don’t want to. You will thank yourself afterwards. This last half of 2013 I have found that going to the gym has now become a pleasure. I say that with pleased surprise. For the first two and a half years it was definitely not a pleasure, and for a different reason each week. There were many perfectly reasonable reasons why I shouldn’t go. My body hurt and I was so tired afterwards. I was tired before I went, and often dragged my feet up the stairs to the gym. I injured myself gardening so felt I shouldn’t go. And the most common and honest reason, I just didn’t want to go. It seemed just too much effort for little reward.

However, because I had deeply understood regular gym attendance would change my life radically, and because I began to have little moments when I realised that I was actually getting fitter and stronger and sleeker, I continued to know that  the gym was the best way for me to care for myself and change my life for the better. So I persisted. Each week I referred to my goals, and planned time in my diary so I would make that gym appointment, even when I was extremely reluctant to go. Three years later I can go to the gym twice a week with pleasure, I’m back doing yoga, and when I walk and swim with friends, it is a pleasure and not a huge effort. I also injure myself less, recover faster, and have more energy and time for myself, and my friends and family. Fitness  was that one important thing for me to change so my life became much more productive and fun.

What one thing do you want to do to care for yourself? How are you going to make that a weekly habit?

teaching your chilod to succeedWe have to care for ourselves – no-one else. I want to refer you to Dr Stephen Covey’s ideas. He says most people live in the middle of concerns and problems which they believe they can’t change. He suggests we are happier and more effective in our lives when we concentrate on changing what we can control. Over time, quite magically really, our circle of concern can become our circle of influence. Increasing our circle of influence mean we can continue to make the changes that we deeply want  in our lives and those of our families. Stephen wrote some life-changing books. You might have heard of ‘The 7 habits of highly effective people’. Stephen shows you how changing your focus to what is within your control to change, rather than blaming life, others, circumstances, or disability for your concerns and problems enables you to take control of your life rather than be a victim of it.

I  suggest that you seriously ask yourself, “What one thing can I do that will change my life for the better?” and then plan to succeed in caring for yourself. When you discover a new habit you can develop which will change your life and your family’s for the better, then you plan to succeed. Plan each week to do that new habit through all the difficult times, all your failures, and all the little glitches, until it is a habit and becomes easy.

Next and last post on planning to care for ourselves will give you ideas on how to plan your week.

I’m working in partnership with you the reader and I like to know what you are thinking! Please feel free to write your thoughts, questions, and comments at the bottom of this page. 

Follow me if you like this post and want to know more about how you can develop strengths in your child with minimum fuss and effort. You won’t be flooded with emails. I only write every week or so. 

I like to share my coaching ideas with as many people as possible, so please Tweet this post or follow me on

Twitter; and share this post and the excellyourchild.com website with other like-minded families.

Warmly,

Anne

goal-setting, self-care

Don’t wait: Plan to care for yourself now!


Why don’t you care for yourself yet?

Many of us remember making worthwhile goals to care more for ourselves. Maybe you made them when you realised you were unhappy and something has to change in your life; when a dear friend or family member became very ill or died; when you read something thought provoking and got inspired; or when it is New Year’s Eve and you make those New Years resolutions once again.

looking after yourselfHowever in the cold sober light of your busy week, as the old work-home routines grind along and your loved ones still need you, those wonderful and exciting goals  to care for yourself usually get shelved. Does this sound like you?

Don’t wait! Plan to care for yourself now.

I have simple suggestions about planning to care for yourself. Then you don’t have to wait for the next New Year’s Eve or another crisis before you make your next attempt. Without the past fuss and bother, and before your family knows it – you can create small changes gently in your week so you care for yourself as well as for your family.

A simple way to develop the new ‘caring for myself’ habit.

Step 1: Decide EXACTLY why you need to care for yourself. Three years ago I began to plan regular exercise into my week. I did this because  I  realised one day, with a great shock, that very soon I wasn’t going to be fit enough to having the adventures I still wanted to have. I knew I was increasingly at risk of having small accidents and injuring myself,  that I would find it difficult to handle heavy luggage, and I definitely couldn’t imagine biking with my friends in Europe anymore. Three years ago I knew, without any doubt, that regular exercise at the gym under a good trainer would change my life radically for the better, and allow me to take all the adventures offered to me in the future. Going to the gym became a habit over time, and my fitness  steadily improved. Since then I have left the country twice on trips, had many other mini adventures, and and when I have accidents and hurt myself, I am still fit enough to recover relatively quickly. Check out my last post on ways to find one thing that. if you do it, will change your life for the better.

Step 2: Be ruthless. PLAN to care for yourself every week. At the beginning of each week write the days and  times you will care for yourself in your diary or on your calendar, as important appointments; then keep that appointment. Most weeks I make appointments in my diary to exercise at least 3 times a week, by going to the gym, yoga, swimming, and/or walking with friends. I have found that many of my other tasks can be planned around the exercise ones. And I have also found that “No sorry I ‘m not available then”, is perfectly okay to say to most requests invading those important and planned exercise times. Your time to exercise, buy and cook healthily, pursue an interest, study, or whatever that one thing is that  will change your life for the better, can be kept every week, except of course in some emergency situations. However, even then, don’t ditch your own plans to care for yourself without taking a moment to think. Before you say, “Yes sure I’ll help you right now,” stop and take a breath, and maybe you can help that person after or before that important appointment with yourself.

To best care for those we love in an emergency aboard a plane we are advised to put the oxygen mask on ourselves first  before we place the mask over our loved ones’ faces .  Planning to take care of yourself first by making weekly appointments so you do care for yourself,  means you will have more energy to care for your loved ones.

My next post  suggests ways you can make that one thing that you believe will change your life for the better, into a comfortable habit you hate to break.

I’m working in partnership with you the reader and I like to know what you are thinking! Please feel free to write your thoughts, questions, and comments at the bottom of this page. 

Follow me if you like this post and want to know more about how you can develop strengths in your child with minimum fuss and effort. You won’t be flooded with emails. I only write every week or so. 

I like to share my coaching ideas with as many people as possible, so please Tweet this post or follow me on

Twitter; and share this post and the excellyourchild.com website with other like-minded families.

Warmly,

Anne

goal-setting, self-care

Care for yourself first – think of oxygen masks


care for yourself firstAs the stewards remind us each plane flight – when you are suddenly in a situation without oxygen, you must care for yourself first by organising your own oxygen before you help your family.

Don’t you find this contradicts our training to care for others first? And when we care for ourselves first, do you notice we often feel guilty for being selfish.

Do you care for yourself regularly? Okay, we seldom  have to give our family oxygen in a airplane, but if you find yourself answering ‘yes’ to most of the following statements, you are not caring for yourself enough.

Do you find you often find it hard to deal with the daily demands from your family anymore?

You might notice with pangs of guilt that you feel as though you have run out of love and patience for them.

You might often feel tired, jaded, and grumpy, and feel swamped by the daily important, urgent family things you have to do.

The little things in life may lose their pleasure, and you feel bored with your life, and unappreciated and unloved.

Perhaps your house doesn’t feel a haven anymore and you would do almost anything to escape.

If you find yourself answering ‘yes’ to most of these statements – here is an important warning for you. Family relationships break down because the people looking after family members don’t have a system of self-care. We all need to regularly renew ourselves so we can lovingly care for others. To carry on the airplane image, you might be one of those people who in an airplane emergency  will be making sure their family can breathe first, and meanwhile they are choking in a vacuum.

If you don’t organise to care for yourself, who will? You are the only one who is responsible to care for yourself – not anyone else – not your partner, your children, or your friends. You are often the only one who knows what you need to do to recharge your batteries every week so that you can be there for those who need you. I can’t possibly guess what your oxygen source is, and maybe you don’t know yet.

care for yourself firstThis is how I decide what I can do to best look after myself. Every year I ask myself this question: “What one thing, if I did it, would change my life for the better?” Sometimes I find two or three things to do to positively change my life. Take time to think about the answer. Take as much time as you need. This is an exciting and possibly life-changing process. The change you can make is often quite simple, easily done, and not rocket-science at all and it does not  require lots of self-sacrifice on anyone’s part, However, it can positively change your life and your family’s life so that relationships remain strong, and home is again a haven and not an unpleasant workplace.

Write all possible answers down on what benefits you see from caring for yourself, and how you can care for yourself. Look at all aspects of yourself – your physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual sides. Here is a link to a wonderful teacher of mine – Stephen Covey  who has a plan I use to implement change. And check out  my goal-setting blogs for more ideas.

Sometimes we lose sight of what is really important in life, and so we get all tangled up in the little things. Work stress, irritations about others, jobs at home piling up and up, feeling sorry for ourselves and harboring unhelpful thoughts and past hurts. We often let poor food and exercise habits sneak up on us too. When we take steps to care for yourselves first, when we regularly give yourselves time to feed our souls, minds, and bodies, we are better equipped to care for our family and loved ones.

I encourage you to find out which one thing you can change in your life so you care for yourself first to better care for your family. When you become a more loving, empathetic, and happy person, your family will reap those benefits every day.

In my next post I will show you a simple way you can plan to  care for yourself first, and still be available to care for your family.

Warmly,

Anne

coaching, goal-setting, self-care

The modern-day cult of busyness: What happened to relaxed time with family?


parents and children making timeAre you enjoying your family?

Having a conversation with a parent today reminded me that what I best remember as a parent of young children were the special times when I was relaxed and completely there with them. I wouldn’t be thinking about work, or a problem, or about something in the future or past; I would just be enjoying whatever was happening. We could be having a deep conversation while I drove us somewhere, sharing a lovely meal we cooked together, playing on the floor (Lego, barbie dolls, play fighting), watching them, sharing a laugh.  It didn’t matter. What was important was that my mind and body were relaxed and there with them.

Home is where the heart is.

Is your home a peaceful place where you and your family can recharge and relax? When you create regular ‘down-time’ for your family where you all can relax and enjoy each-others company or have time alone, you are also giving yourselves time to recover from the stressful lives you have been living, and live happier and healthier lives. My grownup children remember these moments too. I planned time to relax with my children because I knew that relationships are built and developed in those times, and that it was also good for my wellbeing. I’ve come across others who think like I do.

An article by Mary Grant (Autumn 2013, Parenting) is about the importance of spending unhurried time with those we love. She  says the human heart feeds on time spent being with loved ones, time spend doing simple unhurried activities such as  eating together, going for a walk together, talking and laughing together. However, these simple, deeply pleasurable moments happen less as we strain to accumulate all the things and experiences we believe will make us happy. Today people often spend more and more time on getting things, and less and less time just relaxing with their loved ones.  Perhaps with our busy lives we need to set goals around creating daily/weekly times we relax with our family and with ourselves.

Stephen Covey (The 7 habits of highly effective people) always put the most important things first, his family and his own personal development. He uses the idea of a tiny tug-boat moving a gigantic liner to explain how with small changes we can improve the quality of our lives and our family’s life.  His busy jet-setting career was built around spending regular quality time with his children and grandchildren, as well as regular time reading and thinking and writing. I meet his ideas more than 17 years ago. He helped me plan to succeed in my business, but more importantly he helped me regularly rethink what I wanted to develop or change about my relationship with myself, my children, my home, and with friends.  My life is all the richer for the gentle coaching in Stephen’s books.

What can you change to create a richer more relaxed home for your children and yourself?

 

Maybe it is time to re-look at whether you spend time and energy on nurturing the most important things in your life. Small changes in your routines- 15 minutes at a time – create big changes in your life. Regular relaxed contact with those you love (which includes yourself) feeds your soul and helps you function more effectively in the world. Check out my coaching on how to set goals here.

I’m working in partnership with you the reader and I like to know what you are thinking! Please feel free to write your thoughts, questions, and comments at the bottom of this page. 

Follow me if you like this post and want to know more about how you can develop strengths in your child with minimum fuss and effort. You won’t be flooded with emails. I only write every week or so. 

I like to share my coaching ideas with as many people as possible, so please Tweet this post or follow me on Twitter and share this post and the excellyourchild.com website with other like-minded families.

Warmly,

Anne

self-care

Self -care. If you aren’t happy your family isn’t happy.


I have recently been following a blog by a lovely woman called ‘Flylady’. She has reminded me about the importance of self-care, and looking after myself in small ways every day, especially during stressful December. For most people, particularly mothers, the busiest and most stressful month is December. woman-in-bubble-bath-300x227

And even though a little regular self-care during December is more important than ever to keep us happy and calm, so we can listen to and love those around us, it often flies out the window.

Self-care is a term used for many different things that care for us. It can be decluttering your bedroom so you enjoy sleeping in it, or taking time to file and polish your nails, or having that coffee with a friend, or having a brief 15 minute snooze when you are very tired, or buying yourself a Christmas present to place under the tree, or going to the gym or for a quiet walk, or patting your pet for a while. Everyone of us can think of different things we do to take us to that happy, calm place where all is well with the world and we are nurturing ourselves.

I challenge you to spend 15 minutes a day, every day, doing one small self-care thing  just for yourself for the rest of the month. By committing to self-care, we can learn to take care of ourselves (mind, body, and spirit) in ways that helps us take time out before we respond to our loved ones. Then we can choose our words and our actions, and deal with stressful situations in ways that honor not only ourselves but others. Ultimately, self-care is about how we treat ourselves – the actions we take to care for ourselves, the thoughts we have, and how we feel about ourselves. Begin by creating a self-care moment every day for yourself. If we are well and happy, our family is content. This is a tough challenge. We are not used to spending regular small amounts of time on self-care. Let me know how you go. Check out ways to goal-set over the holidays to get self-care moments sorted.

Warmly,

Anne