How To Get Back On Track With Your Self-Care Routine
If you’ve lost track of a morning routine that did wonders for your well-being, you’re not the only one! It’s ironic but it happens: we sometimes can’t seem to get ourself to do the things that lend us strength, health, balance.
You know you were much happier when you started your day with a meditation or some exercise or morning pages or drawing a cartoon or whatever, but now for no good reason you just don’t do it any more. You’re in good company, it happens to almost everyone! Now and here I won’t be getting into why that is, but how to get back on track:
Do it every day for 10 seconds.
Commit yourself to doing it every single day for 7 or 10 or 14 days, no exceptions, for at least 10 seconds. Because you know you can do that and excuses for 10 seconds are ridiculous.
Why this works:
The biggest hurdle is actually your inner dialogue, the one arguing with yourself, going: “I should… but I don’t have to… yeah it’s good for me but I don’t feel like it… nobody can make me! I’m grown up! I’m free! Ha! Watch me not do it!!” Notice how in the end it feels like a treat and liberating to *not* do something that will restore your balance. If you’re like most people, that voice is too powerful to beat in an argument because it doesn’t reason or make sense, it’s four years old and throwing a tantrum of self-pity because we told it to eat their vegetables.
Your best chance is to avoid this entire inner dialogue (and drama) altogether. No dialogue because it’s decided. You made a promise to yourself you know you can and will keep. It’s just 10 seconds. Do it right now for 10 seconds then read on.
Once you got used to just mechanically and automatically getting on the mat (or at your drawing pad or origami block or balcony…) for no matter how short, you won. The straining dialogue whether to do it or not takes too many resources and is toxic. By shutting it down it dries out over the next few days and that by itself is already healing and relaxing.
It takes between 14 and 40 days to make something a mechanical habit. If this appears too intimidating, start with 7 days and after 7 days make a new resolution. Keep this up and celebrate once you made 21 and 40 days. For extra pride and satisfaction you can hang up a calendar to cross off every day you succeeded and stuck to your promise to yourself.
– use it only for things you know you actually would want to be doing, not somebody else’s idea of what you should be doing
– if you’re not sure what that is, make it experimental: do any type of exercise /any type of meditation /drawing /creative writing /closing eyes and breathing /dancing to a nice song…. but by all means limit it to one defined place. Otherwise it won’t work; too much invitation for avoidance.
– notice the voice inside you try to talk you out of it every single day. tell it to shut up every single day
– notice all kinds of other self sabotage and dirty avoidance tricks happen: drinking and getting hung over, being late for work, working long hours, having friends over and thinking they won’t survive for 10 seconds without your presence, feeling too tired, etc. Remember, we’re talking 10 seconds here. Your reasoning why it’s too late to do it takes longer than actually doing it.
– you may not, can not, skip a single day during your resolve duration. it’s a holy promise to yourself. It’s for 10 seconds, you’ll manage it.
– if you feel like continuing after 10 seconds, by all means do so. It’s 10 seconds minimum, but open end!
– what if I’m really really down?
If you still eat, use the toilet and check instagram you can do this for 10 seconds. This isn’t about chores or work or “functioning”, but much of it is about you giving yourself a symbol for self love and learning to take yourself seriously. This will also help you better navigate phases of sadness in the future.