In This Post:
- Taking small steps is a more effective way to achieve goals.
- Four ways to build habits that promote self care.
As we start the new year, many of us are thinking of our New Year’s resolutions or what big goals we want to accomplish in 2020. But somehow, February comes along. We either feel like we’re already failing at our goals, lost track of them completely, or we have lost motivation all together.
Have you ever had this happen to you?
This got me thinking differently about my goals for this new year. Instead of setting big, lofty goals, what if I focused on just building small, positive habits?
What if I made quick, tangible goals for myself each week? Instead of setting huge goals, what if I focused on just making small steps in the right direction?
Mark Manson, in his book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, talks about the “do something” principle. The idea is to do something, no matter how small, in the direction of your goals.
He says, “If we follow the “do something” principle, failure feels unimportant. When the standard of success becomes merely acting- when any result is regarded as progress and important, when inspiration is seen as a reward rather than a prerequisite- we propel ourselves ahead.”
So, with this in mind, I am challenging us to think the same way about self care in this new year.
Instead of making goals like working out three times a week, losing weight, or running a marathon, let’s think about small ways we can take better care of ourselves every day. How can we quickly recharge our batteries without having to take a huge chunk of time out of our day?We can't choose what happens to us, what people are going to think of us, or what people say or do to us. But we can choose how we respond. Click To Tweet
Self Care Habit #1: Small Moments of Mindfulness
A friend of mine shared this idea with me recently. Her tip was to find small moments of mindfulness in the day. Whether it’s walking down the hallway or eating lunch, find moments in the day where you just take time to notice what’s going on around you. This could be stopping to have a conversation with a student in the hallway, or even just paying attention to your breath.
Instead of walking down the hallway thinking about those papers you need to grade or that meeting you have coming up, give yourself permission to just stop and notice. The work will be there for you later.
Self Care Habit #2: Take a Break!
Have you ever gotten to the end of the school day and realized that you have so much to do, yet you can’t seem to get anything accomplished?
One routine I have been trying to build into my days is knowing when it’s time to take a break. Sometimes, it’s going for a quick walk. Other times, it’s going to talk to a colleague. Sometimes, it’s even leaving the work for tomorrow.
Not only does taking a break help recharge your batteries, but it also helps you refocus and get more accomplished when you sit down again.
Self Care Habit #3: Mindset Matters
We’re only human. We’re going to have good days and bad ones. A quote I found recently said, “Your life is as good as your mindset.”
We can’t choose what happens to us, what people are going to think of us, or what people say or do to us. But we can choose how we respond.
I have found this quote helpful to me when I’m feeling frustrated at a team meeting or am upset when a lesson didn’t go as I planned. It has helped me realize that I can only control how I respond. It makes me realize that I can’t control everything.
Will I still have moments where I get upset? Of course. Will I still say something I regret later? You bet. But giving myself permission to let things go is freeing too. Give yourself permission to let things go and try again tomorrow. Because tomorrow is a new day.
Self Care Habit #4: Take Time for You Each Day
One last habit I’m looking to build in the new year is taking time each day to do something just for me. It doesn’t have to be something big or time consuming, just one thing each day. Something that doesn’t involve doing work for school or accomplishing some task off my to-do list.
It could be reading before bed, meditating for 5 minutes, taking a 10 minute walk, or watching a tv show with your family. No matter what it is, take a bit of time out of your day to do something relaxing and just for you.
Don’t know where to start? I started by making a list of things I can do that don’t cost any money and won’t take a long time to do. Some ideas that came to mind were going for a hike, trying a recipe I’ve been wanting to try, doing yoga, writing, doing a puzzle, going to the local market, or even just listening to music.[scroll down to keep reading]
I hope in this new year that you will give yourself permission to take care of you. Not just on the weekends, not just when you’re feeling burnt out, but every day. We don’t need to set lofty goals for self-care to feel better. We can do something every day to take better care of ourselves.
ABOUT MELISSA CUNNINGHAM
Melissa Cunningham is a passionate middle school educator who has had the pleasure of being in the middle school setting for all 12 years of her career. Her roles span from language arts and math teacher to assistant principal and now, instructional coach.She is especially passionate about student leadership and choice in the classroom, while cultivating the skills of collaboration, problem-solving, and creativity. Outside of school, she enjoys photography, writing, reading, hiking, and spending time with my husband, friends, and family.