I love improving myself. If self-improvement seems too impossible, though, I’m likely to experience burnout and overwhelm. Even self-care, which is supposed to nourish my journey, feels like a chore then, and that defeats the whole purpose of positive momentum. If you can relate, these self-care tips are like honey for a cup of tea that desperately needs some sweetness.
“Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment.” — Stephen Covey
The pressure to improve can be a massive weight to carry; it can even diminish our very desire to do what we can do from this place, which is always where we need to start in order to get anywhere new. Comparison usually isn’t too far behind, and that’s a heavy burden on top of an already heavy load.
What if it was easy? At least, what if it was easier than it seemed? In other words, how can we simplify the process of positive change?
These basic questions inspired me to write today about some self-care tips that can be applied to basically any self-improvement practice.
A common thread in success is simplification.
Over and over again, I’ve found that small steps, taken consistently and consciously, evolve into big changes. You might be desperate for a breakthrough somewhere in your life, but neither immediate gratification nor sweeping change is likely to offer you sustainable results.
Don’t get me wrong: sometimes a sweeping change is called for, and there are people who respond better to that approach. For most of us, I think, that’s a call for overwhelm and destined to be short-lived.
Instead of loading your plate with big self-improvement goals and resource-intensive strategies that eat up all your time and energy, try following the guidance of one or more of these self-care tips.
For the sake of ease, delight, and sustainable success, make “simple” your new mantra.
4 Basic Self-Care Tips for Sustainable Success
1. Allow Space for Daily Introspection
Yes. Simple. Even ten minutes, five minutes, or sixty seconds of meditation, birdwatching, making tea, or reading something uplifting is serious self-care.
Starting your day with a moment of introspection is a crucial element in sustained growth; it infuses ease into every step. It also breeds compassion and mindfulness, not to mention clarity of intention.
Intentional improvement, where one is clear about the kind of energy they’re contributing (rather than solely reacting to the world) is sustainable improvement. In simpler words, know how and why you’re growing, and pay attention to your energy as well as others’. This becomes so much easier with a daily ritual of self-reflection, or if anything, just a little peace and quiet.“You are very powerful, provided you know how powerful you are.” — Yogi Bhajan tweet this
2. Nourish Your Journey with Positive Self-Talk
Talking to yourself is therapeutic when it’s compassionate. If negative and self-limiting beliefs spring up while you’re on your way to somewhere brighter, pause and contemplate the validity of these statements. Then, introduce a new statement that embraces acceptance and serves hopeful growth.
Here are some positive prompts, mantras, and scripts to turn the energy around:
- “Is it true?” Or “Can I be sure this is true?”
- “Self, I’m sorry I’ve bypassed you. I’m sorry I’ve ignored your call. I’m here now. Help me know where to begin. What is life calling on me to do and see? Will you stand with me and give me the courage to stay the course? Together we’ve got this.” — from Kristen Noel’s blog post
- “Progress is better than perfection. Presence is better than perfection. Let’s get present in the process.”
3. Add a Good Habit First
Usually, when it comes to self-improvement, we’re trying to release old patterns and build new patterns. The thing is, we’re human and flawed. That mixture of change and imperfection tends to lead to hiccups, and we tend to beat ourselves up every time we fall off the wagon or break a promise. If and when that happens, try something new and tread slowly.
Rather than giving up something totally and completely on Day 1, try adding in a healthy habit first. It’s easier to add than it is to erase.
If you’re trying to drink less coffee, for instance, you don’t need to give it up all at once (or ever). Take away the extremes. Before you drink a cup of coffee, drink a cup of water. Precede the habit you’re trying to release with a healthy habit; the coffee never comes before the water.
Slow and steady is sustainable.“Self-care births ease, fresh air and laughter.” — Kristen Noel tweet this
4. Apply Present-Moment Compassion
Avoiding the discomfort of generating positive momentum when there seems to be none is only a recipe for stagnation or even negative momentum. Change is not always going to be easy; mostly, it’s not, at least not until we’ve learned to embrace the discomfort.
Compassion is the cure and one of the most important self-care tips I can think of. It takes courage. It takes intense presence and the willingness to be there for yourself even though you’re feeling stressed, tired, or stuck.
Every wound longs for compassion.
Offering yourself compassion is giving yourself permission to feel the way you’re feeling. It’s permission to be patient and imperfect, and still be loved and accepted. That kind of treatment is an intelligent way to improve yourself without missing out on all the treasures along the way, without dimming the light that’s already inside, waiting for you to see it shine.
Let me know:
Which one of these self-care tips do you think would make growth feel so much easier, maybe even enjoyable?
Please share your own tried-and-true self-care tips and advice, and any stories of personal ease + growth with me in the comments.
Share this post with someone you care about, because they’re already enough and so very capable.
Treat your life like a garden. Nurture what you want to grow a little bit every day, and don’t be disheartened if it doesn’t bloom all year long.