Me, Me, Me

I am always telling others, ‘You should take better care of yourself, you are important.’ However, when it comes to taking my own advice, I have a lot to learn.  You see,  I have never been good at putting myself first.  As a Mother, you instinctively put your children’s needs before your own and even now, after they have left home, I am still uncomfortable with the concept.  There is always something else that needs doing.  Always something more important.

I began an unintentional ritual on a Sunday evening, when I would look back on the week  that had gone and then forward to the week  ahead and feel unsettled and somehow incomplete.  How much time had I actually spent in those past 7 days on any past time that I enjoyed?  What stimulating activity had I engaged in that challenged me mentally or physically?  What interesting books had I read and how much had I learned from them?  How much writing had I gotten finished?  The answer was of course, a big fat zero. My routine consisted of going to work, doing chores,  watching a bit of tv, followed by poor quality sleep.

Clearly I needed to take better care of myself.

So I decided to make a plan.  Cue new notebook.  I sat down and for the first time in what seemed like forever, I thought about what really wanted.  It was surprisingly difficult to start with.  I mean, what did I actually want?  I had more free time than ever before and I had no clue what to do with it. This was much more than a weekly face mask or a hot bubble bath.

Number one on the list was always going to be writing.  I wasn’t doing anywhere near enough of it and it was beginning to bother me – a lot.  I was tempted to go into my usual behaviour of telling myself off, highlighting my failures, or at least my lack of success but I stopped myself.  That was not the purpose of the exercise and I refused to let those thoughts have any space in my head.

I continued with my list until I had, what I thought, was an achievable plan of action for myself.  It was actually very simplistic but I was feeling excited and couldn’t wait to get started.

As with anything new, I began with great gusto and in order to ensure I stuck to the plan, I had a daily tick list where I recorded what I had done and how it felt.  There is something hugely satisfying about looking at a page full of ticks and this in itself was motivation for me. By day 5 or 6 though, I started to miss a couple of numbers out.  That’s ok, I told myself, I’m still learning and trying to figure it all out.  By day 10 I had just one tick on the page.

I needed a serious talking to, and I was just the person to do it.

So I did what I always do when I need to think.  I grabbed my coat and headed to the beach.  I hadn’t realised that it was absolutely chucking it down,  somehow though,  it seemed a fitting backdrop. I stomped across the stones feeling frustrated and angry.  Why did I find it so difficult to make my own needs a priority?  Why was it so easy to dismiss everything I wanted?  Just what the hell was wrong with me? I carried on stomping as the wind blew the rain into my face, which I perceived as a punishment for failing at something else.

I returned home, dripping wet but feeling much more positive, knowing exactly what I was going to do.  I looked at the list and cut it down by half.  There were 3 things that stood out to me as the most important:

Write every day. 

Read every day. 

Get outside every day.

so, I got rid of the others, in the hope that they would one day find a way back onto the page.

Fast forward two weeks and I am happy to report that my pages are all ticked and I am   beginning to feel like a different woman.  Some days are trickier than others of course, but I have not let that stop me.  Even a few minutes spent on each of my goals brings such a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that it becomes addictive. I am excited to see just how much progress I can make by the end of this year.

If you are not already doing so, I urge you all to make yourselves a priority.  You won’t regret it.





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